Dal fry step-by-step recipe with photos.
About this recipe
Dal fry is pigeon pea lentil or toor dal cooked with onion, tomatoes and aromatic spices. This humble dal fry has come a long way from roadside Punjabi dhabas to restaurants all over the world. Creamy, rich, and smooth dal fry is a perfect accompaniment to rice and roti/flatbread.
Lentils are an integral part of Indian food and are a staple across all regions and states. A large number of Indians are vegetarians and dal is the main source of protein for them. Pigeon pea or toor dal is the most commonly used dal in Indian cooking.
Lentils have been part of the human diet - archaeological evidence shows they have eaten 9,500 to 13,000 years ago. The cultivation of the pigeon pea goes back at least 3,500 years. The center of origin is probably peninsular India, where the closest wild relatives occur in tropical deciduous woodlands. Archaeological finds of pigeon pea dating to about 3400 years ago have been found in south India and its border areas in Maharashtra and Orissa. From India, it travelled to East Africa and West Africa. There, it was encountered by Europeans, so it obtained the name, Congo Pea. By means of the slave trade, it came to the American continent, probably in the 17th century. Today, pigeon pea is widely cultivated in all tropical and semitropical regions of both the Old and the New Worlds. (Source: Wiki)
Toor dal is well-known for its health benefits. It is a rich source of protein, fiber and folic acid.
To make dal fry, I boil toor dal in a pressure cooker. (If you don’t have access to a pressure cooker, soak the dal in water for 15-20 minutes. Wash it thoroughly and boil in a saucepan with sufficient water). I then sautée onion, ginger, garlic, and then add tomatoes and spices to it. Once the tomatoes are cooked and mushy, I add the boiled dal and simmer it till it comes together. I finish it with some ghee/butter and garam masala.
Add this healthy, tasty restaurant-quality dish to your diet for an excellent non-meat protein source. Perfect with rice or flatbread.
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Step by step instructions
1. Saute onion, ginger, garlic
2. Cook tomatoes and spices till oil seperates
3. Add boiled dal and simmer
- 1 cup pigeon pea (toor dal)
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
- ½ inch ginger grated or 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 2 cloves garlic grated or 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1-2 bay leaf
- A pinch asafoetida (hing)
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder or as per taste
- 1 teaspoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
- Salt to taste
- A few coriander leaves for garnish
- 1 lime
- Boil toor dal with water and few drops of oil until completely cooked and tender
- In a fry pan or kadai, heat oil. Add cumin seeds and let it splutter. Add hing, bay leaves and onion. Saute until onion is golden brown
- Add ginger, garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes until the raw smell disappears
- Add tomato, turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, salt and mix well
- Reduce the heat and let it simmer until the tomatoes are completely cooked and oil separates from it
- Add the boiled dal and mix well. Simmer for 5-10 minutes
- Add garam masala and butter. Crush the dried fenugreek leaves in between your palm and add it to the dal
- Mix well and simmer for 1-2 minutes
- Turn off the heat and squeeze in the lemon juice
- Serve hot