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Dal fry restaurant style recipe With video and step by step photos – dal fry is a popular Indian lentil recipe made with pigeon pea lentils, onions, tomatoes and spices. What you get after cooking the yellow lentils in an onion-tomato base is a delicious, creamy yellow lentils which is mildly spiced and slightly tangy to taste. This dal fry recipe tastes more like what is served in restaurants.

Dal fry is usually prepared with arhar dal also known as tur, toovar or yellow lentils or pigeon pea lentils. You can also use masoor dal (pink or orange lentils) or moong dal (mung lentils) to make this recipe.

dal fry recipe

Both dal fry and Dal tadka are two popular dal dishes served in Indian restaurants. Dal fry is not thin and usually has a medium to a thick consistency. You can adjust the amount of water you want when you prepare it.

These two dal recipes are also famous in the road side Dhabas (roadside eateries) of India. But the dals served in the Dhaba have a different taste.

I had recently posted a dal recipe which is made in the Dhaba style. I tried it first time and the results were too good. It almost tasted like the Dhaba dal. here is the link: Dhaba style dal fry. there are many ways of making dals and I will keep on posting the different ways of making them.

Dal fry recipe video


How to make dal fry

Cooking lentils 

1: take ½ cup tuvar dal (arhar dal or pigeon pea lentils) or half-half of tuvar dal and masoor dal (pink or orange lentils). Rinse the lentils in water for a couple of times.

dals for dal fry recipe

2. Then add the lentils in a pressure cooker. Also add a pinch of turmeric powder and 1.5 cups water.

cooking dals for dal fry recipe

3. Pressure cook the lentils for 8-9 whistles on a medium flame till they are cooked completely. Once the dal is cooked, then you mash the dal and keep aside. You can see the doneness of the dal and consistency in the below pic. The lentils are cooked till completely soft. There should be no separate grains visible.

boiling dal for dal fry recipe

Making dal fry

4: in another pan, heat 2-3 tablespoon oil or ghee or unsalted butter. Add ½ or ¾ tsp black mustard seeds (rai).

butter for dal fry recipe

5. Once the mustard seeds start crackling, then add 1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera and saute them for some seconds till they change color and crackle.

cumin for dal fry recipe

6. Then add 1 medium sized chopped onion, about ⅓ cup chopped onions.

onions for dal fry recipe

7. Saute till the onions become translucent or lightly browned.

sauteing onions for dal fry recipe

8. Then add ginger-garlic paste (½ inch ginger + 3-4 garlic, crushed or made into a paste in a mortar & pestle).

ginger for dal fry recipe

9. Saute till the raw smell of the ginger-garlic disappears.

sauteing ginger for dal fry recipe

10. Add 10-12 curry leaves, 2-3 dry red chilies, 1 or 2 green chilies. I have added curry leaves as they give a very nice flavor to the dal.

chillies for dal fry recipe

11. saute for a minute.

sauteing dal fry masala

12. Now add all the spice powders – ½ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp red chili powder, 1 to 2 pinches of asafoetida. Stir.

spices for dal fry recipe

13. Now add 1 medium sized chopped tomatoes (about ⅓ cup finely chopped tomatoes).

tomatoes for restaurant style dal fry

14. Stir and saute till the tomatoes become soft and pulpy. The oil should also start to leave the masala mixture. This an indication that the onion-tomatoes base mixture is cooked.

sauteing tomatoes for dal fry recipe

15. Add this fried mixture to the dal or add the mashed dal to the fried mixture.

add dal mixture

16. Stir the dal well with the rest of the masala mixture.

stir dal fry

17. Then pour 1 to 1.5 cups water. You can adjust the consistency by adding more or less water.

water for restaurant style dal fry

18. Stir very well to get a  smooth & even consistency.

stir dal fry recipe

19. Then season with salt.

salt for dal fry recipe

20. Stir and simmer the dal fry for 5 to 6 minutes on a low to medium flame.

simmer restaurant style dal fry

21. Lastly add 1 tsp crushed kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves). You can also substitute kasoori methi with a pinch of fenugreek seeds powder. If you don’t have either, then just skip.

kasuri methi for dal fry recipe

22. Then sprinkle ¼ to ½ tsp garam masala powder. If using homemade and a strong garam masala, then you can add ¼ tsp.

garam masala for dal fry recipe

23. Stir and simmer dal fry for a minute.

stir restaurant style dal fry

24. Switch off the flame and lastly add 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves. You can also add ½ to 1 tsp lemon juice towards the end if you prefer.

coriander for restaurant style dal fry

25. Stir one last time.

restaurant style dal fry recipe, dal fry recipe

26. Serve dal fry hot with parathas, rotis, jeera rice or plain steamed basmati rice accompanied with onion-tomato raita, papad, lime/lemon slices or mango pickle or onion salad or kachumber. You can also garnish it with some more coriander leaves while serving.

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