Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Dal Fry

It was a cold winter's evening about five years back. We had thrown a small surprise party for my mom's best friend and her husband who were celebrating their 25th anniversary that day. We had gotten a cake and some great food (Paneer tikka masala and some starters) from a restaurant we all love. And I had committed to make my best dish (then) Dal Fry for all.

At around 8 in the evening, aunty's son-in-law (jiju) and my brother came home with all the food from the restaurant. We took our plates and served all the food. We had the first few bites, and then jiju turned to my brother and asked, "Did you order the dal fry? I do not remember ordering it..." I had a huge smile on my face as I tell him, "No, I made this at home". The sound of great laughter followed!

Dal Fry

This memory is so clearly etched in my memory that whenever I make this Dal Fry, I am reminded of those words.

Homemade Dal Fry

Dal Fry

Preparation Time:
2 hours (including soaking time for the lentils)
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Serves: 4


2 cups cup toor dal
4 cups water

For the dal

2 tbsps peanut/ sunflower/ olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida powder
2-3 dried red Kashmiri chillies
1 medium tomato finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
2 tsps corriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsps garam masala powder
Salt to taste

For the second tempering

1 tbsp peanut/ sunflower/ olive oil
2 tbsps ghee (clarified butter)
2 green chillies thickly sliced
8-10 cloves of garlic finely chopped
15-20 fresh corriander leaves finely chopped


Soak the toor dal in the 3 cups of water. Pressure cook with another cup of water apart from the water already in the dal till it is cooked through.

In a deep pan, heat 2 tbsps oil.

Temper with the cumin seeds, the asafoetida and the dried red Kashmiri chillies.

Add in the chopped tomatoes and the turmeric powder, the red chilly powder, the corriander powder, the cumin powder and the garam masala. Fry the tomatoes and the masalas till they release the oil.

Now pour in the cooked dal and add salt. Stir it in well.

Lower the flame to simmer, cover the dal and cook for another 10 mins till the masalas seep into the dal.

In a small pan, heat the oil and ghee for the second tempering. Add in the garlic first, then the green chilly and the corriander last. Fry for about 30 seconds and pour over the dal.

Cover and cook with the second tempering for another 5 minutes.

Garnish with corriander leaves and serve hot with rice, jeera rice or rotis.

Dal Fry with the second tempering


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