This is a simple and delicious North India-style arhar dal recipe. Also known as toor dal. Serve it with rice for a comforting meal of dal bhaat.
What is Arhar Dal?
Arhar is the Hindi term for pigeon peas. A widely popular legume from the tropical regions. In many parts of India, it is also known as toor dal. Pigeon Peas are a plant-based protein that is rich in fiber too. From making sambar to khichdi, toor dal is one of the most commonly used legumes in Indian Cuisine.
My Favorite Dal Fry
My love affair with arhar dal started at an early age.
In most Kumaoni households, the lunch menu often consists of dal-bhaat (lentil-rice), and when we say dal, we are referring to arhar ki dal.
There is an unsaid, soul-satiating comfort in mopping up the piping hot arhar dal fry with steamed rice (bhaat). And to date, arhar ki dal with rice remains my favorite comfort food, no second thought about it.
Every cook has their own arhar dal recipe. However, I follow my family’s signature arhar dal recipe passed on from generation to generation.
You should note that the original recipe called for heavy-duty brass cookware to cook the dal. I am switching to a pressure cooker because of two reasons. One, I don’t have the brass casserole. Second, I ain’t no patient cook. So this can be called a short version of the slow-cooked toor dal fry. Double winner!
How To Make
Step 1) Clean, wash, and soak toor dal in water for 15 – 20 minutes.
Step 2) Transfer soaked dal to a pressure cooker and green chili, salt, turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste, and chopped tomato. Add water. Stir to combine. Seal the pressure cooker with the lid. Cook dal for two whistles over low heat.
Step 3) Open the lid of the pressure cooker. Add more water if the dal is too thick to get the desired consistency. Taste and, if required, add more salt and seasoning to the dal. Turn on the heat and simmer arhar dal over low heat while you prepare tadka.
For tadka of dal, you can use a combination of garlic, cumin, dried red chilies, chopped onion, and asafoetida.
Step 4) Prepare tadka, heat ghee in a small pan. Add cumin, asafoetida, red chilies, chopped garlic, and onion. Fry till onion and garlic is light brown. At last, add red chili powder and turn off the heat.
Step 5) Pour hot tadka over the arhar dal. Stir to combine. Sprinkle chopped fresh coriander. Seal the pressure cooker with a lid for 5 minutes. This way flavor and aroma of tadka are nicely blended with the dal.
Step 6) Serve arhar dal warm with rice.
Arhar Dal is an Indian main course dish from North India. The best combination is arhar dal fry with basmati rice. This combination is known as dal – bhaat in many regions of India.
Use leftover arhar dal to make Punjabi-style dal paratha. It is one of the best ways to recycle leftover dal.
More Indian Dal Recipes
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Arhar Dal Recipe
- Heavy Bottom Kadhai
- 1 Cup toor dal (pigeon peas)
- ½ Cup chopped tomato
- 1 green chili chopped
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste (get recipe)
- 4 Cup water
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
Ingredients for the tempering (tadka)
- 4 tablespoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- ¼ teaspoon hing (asafoetida)
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 dried red chilies
- ¼ Cup finely chopped onion
- ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- Clean, wash and soak toor dal in water for 15 – 20 minutes. Make sure to wash the pigeon peas nicely with water 2 – 3 times before soaking.
- Transfer soaked dal to a pressure cooker, along with green chili, salt, turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste, and chopped tomato. Add 4 cups of water. Stir to combine. Seal the pressure cooker with the lid. Cook dal for two whistles over low heat. Allow the steam to release naturally.
- Open the lid of the pressure cooker. Taste the dal and, if required, add more salt and seasoning to the dal. If the dal is too thick, add more water to get the desired consistency. Turn on the heat and allow arhar dal to simmer while you prepare the tadka.
- Prepare tadka, heat ghee in a small pan. Add cumin, asafoetida, red chilies, chopped garlic, and onion. Fry till onion and garlic is light brown. Continuously stir the tadka while frying. At last, add red chili powder and turn off the heat.
- Pour hot tadka over the arhar dal. Stir to combine. Sprinkle chopped fresh coriander. Stir to combine. Seal the pressure cooker with a lid for 5 minutes. This way flavor and aroma of tadka are nicely combined with the dal.
- Garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve Arhar Ki Dal warm with rice.
- Do not add too much water while cooking the dal. Usually, a ratio of 1:4 (dal to water) works perfectly). Please note arhar dal consistency becomes thick after a few hours of cooking. Hence, add more water if required.
- 2 – 3 whistles over low heat are perfect to cook toor dal. Cooking for too long makes dal mushy and like a thick paste.
- If you do not like spicy dal, skip adding red chilies to the tadka.
- You can customize tadka of dal as per personal preference. Use only cumin and chilies or only garlic and cumin.
- You can add a teaspoon of Garam Masala powder once the dal is cooked for warmth and a spicy taste.