Mom’s Yellow Tadka Dal

DSC_6725_2This is purely opinion, but few things could be as deliciously hearty and wholesome as a bowl of hot yellow dal.  A bowl of steaming hot dal after a long day’s work is like yellow gold to me; as warm as a mother’s embrace, as hearty as a full-bellied laugh. If  given the option, I would probably eat dal every single day of the week. Overstated enough?  Wait till I get to the health facts… It was only natural that after a week at home with the family over Thanksgiving break, I come back and make myself a pot of dal.

Health Stuff

Lentils have the third highest level of protein of any legume. They are an essential source of inexpensive protein for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike in India, and West Africa and the Mediterranean. Also high in soluble fiber, lentils help stabilize blood sugar and lower cholesterol. Low in calories, high in nutrients and with virtually no fat, consuming lentils can help aid in weight loss, filling you up and keeping you satisfied.



Here’s the Recipe my mom gave me that I’ve always stuck with. There are so many ways to prepare this, but I like to keep it simple.  Red masoor dal cooks in 20 minutes, so there is no need to use a pressure cooker or pre-soak the lentils.

You will need:

  • 1 cup red split lentil (masoor dal)
  • turmeric
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • cumin seeds
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • About a quarter of an onion
  • Dried red chillies
  • Cilantro
  • Salt

To Prepare:

This is probably the easiest recipe of life. But it works like a charm every time.


Rinse 1 cup of dal until the water becomes clear.  Boil the dal on med-high with 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric and some tomatoes, chopped. As it comes to a boil, remove the foam that forms on top with a spoon so it doesn’t boil. over. Add water as necessary.


 When the dal mostly boiled, in a separate pan add a teaspoon of vegetable oil, a tsp or so of cumin seeds, 2-3 dried red chillies broken in half, and wait for the seeds to sputter. Then add the chopped garlic and diced onion and sauté for a minute.

While the dal is still boiling, add the tadka to the dal. Stir and simmer and turn off the heat. This will temper the dal and add flavor.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice or roti!


I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!


1 Comment

  1. Lucy says:

    Delicious! This recipe is really good. yes it IS easy, and it is so healthy we just felt great afterward. Wow it makes a difference to toast the spices….. thanks for giving me the confidence to try this!

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