Dal Fry

Dal Fry

It’s a popular favourite

Dal is defined as lentils in their split or skinned form. Dal Fry is one of the many way in which different lentils can be cooked to make a tasty and nutritious dish. Dal Fry is very popular predominantly in North India although there are many variants of the same found elsewhere in the country also.

Dal Fry is rich in fats, carbohydrates and proteins. It also has fibre, Iron, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin B complex which makes it a very beneficial food for everyone.

Tasty with a difference

Once cooked, Dal Fry has a soft consistency and the lentil used gets its flavour enhanced with the added spices and vegetables. This dal goes well with parathas and chapatis. There are, of course, many other variations to cooking Dal Fry. You can add or remove spices as per your taste and try out a few culinary experiments also.

It’s especially Desi (Indian)

Across India there are so many ways to make the essential dal that it is quite difficult to pick out any one particular recipe. When we Say Desi, it means this is a recipe that is unique to Indians. Whichever way you see it is a fabulous gastronomical experience nevertheless.

Given below is a simple yet tasty version of the Dal Fry, one which you can modify as per your liking.

Serve with panache

Dal Fry is best served with something called “lachha Pyaaz” or sliced onion tossed with a little salt, lemon juice, finely cut green coriander and if you like spice then fine cut green chillies. Some buttermilk or Lassi or Chaas also goes well with your meal. It also aids digestion as curd contains natural bacteria good for digestion.

Dal Fry recipe in Brief

You can use any type of lentils to make Dal Fry. The most commonly used lentil is Split Pigeon Peas or tur Dal. Tur dal is also known as Arhar in some parts of the country. The recipe calls for soaking, pressure cooking and tempering the lentils to get its best flavours.

Dal Fry


The dal of your choice would need a little bit of soaking and pressure cooking. Every lentil has its own unique cooking method so be careful with the pressure cooking r you will have a sticky mash on your hands. 


  • Two measures Lentils (one measure can be about 100 grams)
  • 1 Tablespoon ghee/ clarified butter or any cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/4th teaspoon asafoetida or hing
  • 4-5 fresh curry leaves or Kadipatta
  • 3 Red chillies
  • 1 Tomato, or 2 of you like tomatoes, cut small
  • Garlic flakes, finely chopped or grated (use as per your taste)
  • ½ inch piece of Ginger, fine chopped
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • Green Coriander leaves, fine chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch sugar
  • Water

How to make

Part one of making Dal Fry

  1. Wash your Dal well. Soak in two cups of water for 15-20 minutes. In your you can put the dal directly or then you can place it in a vessel separately inside the cooker. 

  2. If you are placing it in a vessel then ensure that there is not too much water inside the cooker. After you place the vessel there should be less than an inch of water.

  3. Your vessel with the dal must have water which cover the dal to about an inch above the lentils. Add 1/4th teaspoon of oil, a pinch of asafoetida powder and 1/4th teaspoon of turmeric powder to your lentils.

  4. Cover and pressure cook for about 4-5 minutes. 

  5. The cooking time would depend on what kind of lentils you are using. Some cook in 3-4 minutes, some take longer. Once your lentils are cooked keep aside. 

Part two of making Dal Fry

  1. Gather all your ingredients first so it is easy to do the seasoning.

  2. Take a medium sized wok, put it on the hob or flame

  3. Don’t keep the heat high

  4. Add the ghee or refined cooking oil

  5. Add cumin seeds and wait for it to sizzle or crackle

  6. Add your hing or asafoetida powder

  7. Add curry leaves

  8. Add turmeric

  9. Add red chilli powder

  10. Add your whole red chillies

  11. Mix well 


  1. Add onions, fry till slightly brown

  2. Add garlic and ginger

  3. Add tomatoes

  4. Mix it all up and fry for a minute on high heat. Careful that it does not burn. 

  5. Add some of the green coriander and mix 

  6. Add salt to taste

  7. Add pinch sugar

  8. Mix well and add the dal to it. Fry the whole lot on high for a minute then reduce heat. Dal Fry is not a gravy dish. It is semi solid and slightly thick so don’t add water. 

  9. Pour your Dal Fry a serving bowl, garnish with chopped green coriander.

Serve hot.


This dish is best eaten hot. It keeps for a day or two under refrigeration.

  • Your two measures of lentils can serve up to 2-3 people depending on appetites.
  • Serve with tossed onion salad, hot parathas or chapatis and a glass of Chaas to wash it all down. These are approximate values assuming you are using Tur Dal for your Dal Fry dish.

The numbers would change depending on the oil that you use, the quantity of oil or ghee, any other dal and if you add anything else to your dal.

  1. Calories 703
  2. Sodium 35 mg
  3. Total Fat 3 g
  4. Potassium 2854 mg
  5. Saturated 1/2 g
  6. Total Carbs 130 g
  7. Polyunsaturated 0g
  8. Dietary Fibre 31 g
  9. Monounsaturated 0 g
  10. Sugars 0 g
  11. Trans 0g
  12. Protein 44 g
  13. Cholesterol 0 mg
  14. Vitamin A 1%
  15. Calcium 26%
  16. Vitamin C 0%
  17. Iron 60%

These values are taken for a quantity of 200 grams or approximately two measures. Take less or more quantities of lentils and the values would change accordingly

Dal Fry is a nutritious and tasty way to eat the otherwise boring dal. It works well for lunch or dinner.

Happy eating!

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