A simple daal tadka is comfort food for most of the Indians. If you are looking for the daal tadka that gets served in the Indian restaurants, then this recipe is not for you.
‘Tadka’ also called as ‘chaunk’ is the process of tempering or preparing a hot fragranced oil/ghee with various spices which is normally added to the dish to finish it off.
There are lots of different recipes of daals and so many variations .This simple yellow daal tadka recipe is an heirloom recipe from my mother in law. Every time I make this, I mentally compare it against how hers taste. It’s so delicious and light that my 9 year old happily drinks the whole cup served to him. Again, the main source of protein for vegetarians.
My mother in laws original recipe calls for Moong daal /lentil washed, but my version uses the red lentils or masoor daal. The only reason I use the red lentil is because I get to use the moong daal in my other preparations and want to make sure I use all varieties of daals in our everyday food for the nutritional value. Also the moong daal goes off if the weather in warmer or if you leave it near the hob i.e. warmer temperatures, but the daal made out of red lentil has a better shelf life. You can use either variety of lentils.
This daal freezes well too.
- Red lentils – 1 cup, washed well ( optionally to shorten the cooking time, you could pre-soak it for 5 mins in lukewarm water )
- Cooking onion – 1 medium sized, chopped fine or into half moons
- Thin green chilli – 2 medium sized, slit lengthwise or as per your preference for heat
- Fresh ginger – ½ tsp minced
- Garlic – 2 cloves minced ( optional )
- Ghee or oil – 2 tsp
- Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder – 1/8th tsp
- Salt to taste
- Lemon juice – as per taste
- Fresh coriander leaves – 1 tsp finely chopped
- Water to boil the daal
- In a saucepan, add the washed lentils and water and allow it to come to a roll boil. When it reaches a roll boil, stir it well to avoid the daal sitting at the bottom.
- Cook the lentil until it loses its shape and becomes mushy. Reduce the heat to minimum.
- In a different frying pan heat the ghee or oil, and add the cumin seeds. When it sizzles add the green chillies, chopped coriander, ginger and crushed garlic and sauté for a minute.
- Add the onions and along with turmeric powder and sauté until onions are golden. Pour this into the daal. Add water if required to get it into your desired consistency. Add salt to put the lid on and on lowest heat give it 2-3 mins for the flavours to mix well.
- Serve with a dash of lemon juice.