Dal Fry Recipe : How to Make Restaurant Style Dal Fry at Home

The aromatic and delicious restaurant style Dry Fry is easy to make at home. The Dal fry recipe is easy and simple to try. Even the beginners can take the risk to prepare it for the first time. Almost all the big restaurant to small food stalls to the street side Dhabha serve this delish. This all-time favourite Dry Fry another popular Indian dal recipe from North Indian Cuisine. Learn how to make this lentil recipe. Prepare at home and make it tastier than Dhabha.

Dal Fry

  • Author:
  • Recipe Category: Punjabi Dish
  • Cuisine: Indian

Description: The Dal fry recipe is easy and simple to try. Even the beginners can take the risk to make it for the first time. Learn to prepare it tastier than Dhabha.

Dal Fry Recipe

Ingredients for Dry Fry Recipe:

  • Pigeon Pea lentils (Tuvar dal, Arhar dal) – ½ cup
  • Onion (finely chopped) – 1/3 cup
  • Tomatoes (finely chopped) – 1/3 cup
  • Green Chillies (chopped) – 2 units
  • Red Chillies (deseeded) – 2 units
  • Cumin Seeds (Jeera) – 1 tsp.
  • Curry Leaves (Kadi Patta) – 10 leaves
  • Asafoetida (Hing) – 1 pinch
  • Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1 ½ tsp.
  • Dry Fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi) – 1 tsp.
  • Turmeric Powder (Haldi) – ½ tsp.
  • Red Chilli Powder – ½ tsp.
  • Black Mustard Seeds (Rai) – ½ Tsp.
  • Garam Masala Powder – ½ tsp.
  • Lemon Juice – ½ tsp.
  • Coriander Leaves (Dhania Patta) – few leaves
  • Ghee / Oil – 2 tbsp.
  • Water – 1 ½ cups
  • Salt – as required

Note: You can also use ¼ cup Tuvar dal and ¼ cup masoor dal. The proportion of water can vary, so use as required. You can use oil or ghee in the recipe, but I recommend you to use patanjali cow ghee.

1/3 cup onion and tomatoes = 1 medium sized onion and tomatoes.

Steps for Restaurant Style Dal Fry Recipe:

Dal fry is very easy to make and simple recipe. The cooking of the restaurant style Punjabi Dry Fry is takes very less time.


Cooking Tuvar Dal:

  • Take pigeon pea lentils (Tuvar dal) on a plate.
  • Pick the stones and check for the dirt.
  • Scan the lentils and remove other impurities from it.
  • Now, take a pressure cooker and add 1 ½ cups of water in it.
  • Then add ½ cup Tuvar dal in it.
  • Place the pressure cooker on the stove.
  • Turn on the flame and pressure cook the dal.
  • Once the Dal is cooked, mash the dal lightly.
  • You use back-end of a spoon or wired whisk for mashing.
  • Keep this dal aside and proceed further.

Note: You can pressure cook the Tuvar Dal with the pinch of turmeric powder as well.

Ginger- Garlic Paste

  • You can make the ginger-garlic paste at home.
  • Take ½ inch ginger and 3 garlic cloves.
  • Grate the ginger and crush the garlic cloves.
  • Grind them to smooth paste in a mortar-pestle.

Note: You can vary the proportion of cloves as per your choice. Check here for how to prepare ginger-garlic paste at home.

How to Make Dal Fry:

  • Now, take a non-stick fry pan and add oil in it.
  • Place it on stove and turn on the flame.
  • Add 2 tbsp. ghee (or oil) in the pan and heat it.
  • Now, add mustard seeds in the pan.
  • Wait for them to crackle in the melted ghee.
  • After you hearing them splutter, add cumin seeds as well.
  • Saute these whole seeds for a while. Fry them properly.
  • The, add the finely chopped onions in the pan.
  • Fry onions until they till they change colour.
  • While sautéing, onions must become translucent.
  • Now, add ginger-garlic paste in the pan.
  • Fry them until the raw aroma is removed.
  • Take the dry red chillies and break them into the half.
  • Remove the seeds from both the red and green chillies.
  • Add these broken red chillies in the pan.
  • Also, add green chillies and curry leaves as well.
  • Stir all these ingredients nicely.
  • Then begin to add all the spice powders you are using.
  • Add ½ tsp. turmeric powder.
  • Add ½ tsp. garam masala powder.
  • Add ½ tsp. red chilli powder.
  • Add one pinch of asafoetida.
  • Mix all these ingredients and fry them for 1 minute.
  • After a minute, add the chopped tomatoes in the pan.
  • Fry them until the tomatoes turn tender.
  • When they are soft, they would release oil.
  • Now, add the mashed dal from the cooker.
  • Add 1.5 cups of water as well.
  • Stir everything and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add salt in between and taste the dal.
  • Adjust the salt and other spices as per your taste.
  • Let the dal fry simmer for some time.
  • After 5 minutes, add karri Methi. (Crush it between your palms before adding.)
  • Sprinkle the Garam Masala Powder and gently stir.
  • The spice mix powder should mix evenly in the Dal Fry.
  • Simmer for around 30 seconds.
  • Sprinkle lemon juice over the dal fry.
  • Season the Dal fry with chopped coriander leaves.
  • Turn off the flame and transfer the dal into serving bowls.
  • Serve it Hot.

Note: The Dal has to be smooth in texture and must have a thick consistency.

Additional Information:

  • Calories: 517 calories
  • Total Time: PT25M
  • Serves: 4
  • Date Published:

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This recipe of restaurant style Dry Fry uses Tuvar or Toor dal as the main ingredient. The Tuvar dal is also known as Arhar. The Dal fry is usually prepared with pigeon pea lentils but you can use the mixed lentils as well. To make this recipe, you would need everyday spices and veggies as well. This Dal Fry is simple yet very healthy. The high proportion of lentils makes it nutritious and rich in proteins.

In this Dal Fry recipe, the split pigeon peas are boiled and cooked with onion-tomato gravy. They are then tempered with whole spices and some common condiments. These ingredients are sautéed in ghee. To give the Dal, special Punjabi touch, you can add Garam masala powder. This cooked Dal is seasoned with a variety of spices. It is easy to cook retaining the great authentic Punjabi flavours.

The blend of various spices makes the Dal Fry extremely flavourful and aromatic. It has a subtle taste, fantastic aroma and fabulous taste.  Once you take the first bite, you would want more. This delicious Dal would be a treat for your taste buds. The approach for this recipe is to pressure cook lentils and then mix in the Indian curry. This gives the Dal Fry a rich texture, strong aroma and a spicy taste.


  • If dal fry is too thick, you can add some water and adjust the spices.
  • Do not forget to simmer for few seconds after adding water and salt.
  • For the strong spice powders, use only 1 pinch.
  • The addition of lemon juice is optional. It adds the tangy and tarty flavours to your dish.
  • You may use the unsalted butter as a substitute for oil or ghee.
  • The packet of spice powder is available in store. But you can also make Garam masala powder at home.
  • Serve the Dal when it’s hot. Otherwise, it would become very thick when it cools.
  • If you are using an electrical pressure cooker, then use 2 cups of water for a ¼ cup of Dal. It would take 5 minutes for Dal to cook and 10 minutes to release pressure.
  • If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can soak lentils overnight.
  • You can cook the Dal in an open pot till it is soft and tender.


  • Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves over the dal and serve.
  • You can drizzle ¼ tsp. ghee over the dal when serving.
  • You may even add ¼ tsp. of butter over the cooked Dal Fry.
  • The Dal Fry can be topped with the fried red chillies.

Serving Idea:

Quick Tip:
  • You can also add ½ tsp. Dry Mango Powder instead of the lemon juice.
  • If you are using unsalted butter, then always fresh and homemade butter.
  • Add ¼ tsp. of oil while pressure cooking Dal to avoid releasing of liquid.
  • There will be a slight difference in the taste of Dal depending on the type and quality of your pan.
  • Instead of mashing, you can also put the Dal in Blender.

How to Cook Dal without Pressure Cooker?

To cook without a pressure cooker, you would have to soak the dal for more than 2 hours or overnight. Then drain the excess water from the soaked Dal and discard it. Keep this strained Dal aside.

Now a take pot and add enough water to it. You would need 4 cups water for 1 cup of Dal. Boil the water and add a pinch of Turmeric powder. When the water reaches the boiling point, then add the soaked and drained Dal in it. Keep the pot open and cook the Dal. Do not cover the lid of the pot. Remove the froth on the surface of a water with a spoon. Simmer the lentils and wait till it is cooked.

When it becomes tender and soft, it means it is cooked.  It would take time for Tuvar Dal to cook when compared with other dals. The time of cooking the Dal also depends on the quality of the Tuvar Dal. It would take nearly 50 to 60 minutes to cook the lentils in the pot.

How to cook the blended lentils?

If you want to cook the blended lentils, the firstly gather all the blended lentils in the pan. Now add hot water to this pan. Simmer everything on a low to medium flame. You need to stir frequently the lentils in the pan or in a pot. Cooking in the pot take more time, so use the pan. Also, if you do not have the pan, then you use Moong Dal for the Dal Fry Recipe in the pot.

How to prepare Dhaba Style Dal Fry Recipe?

To make the Dhaba Style Dal Fry, you would need five types of dal: Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram), Tuvar Dal (Pigeon Pea Lentils), Urad Dal (Split Black Gram), Moong Dal (Split Green Gram) and Masoor Dal (Pink Lentils). The rest of the ingredients like spice powders, whole spices, and the veggies remain same.

The process of cooking the Dal and preparing the Dal Fry is also similar. The basic idea is you have to add ½ cup of mixed lentils with various spices. The Dhungar method (The charcoal technique) is generally used for the smoky flavour and fragrance.

How to get the restaurant style charcoal smoke flavour to Dal Tadka?

You would have to follow the Dhungar method if you want to get the restaurant style Dal with the Charcoal flavour. All the restaurants and the various street side Dhabha’s follow this method of preparing Dal tadka.

To get the charcoal flavour, follow the below steps:

  • Take the small piece of charcoal.
  • Burn it over the flame till its red hot.
  • Place this burned charcoal in a steel bowl.
  • Then, keep this bowl with piece of burnt charcoal in the cooked dal.
  • Keep the consistency of Dal slightly thick. Otherwise, the bowl would immerse in it.
  • Now, drizzle ½ tsp. of ghee or oil on the piece of charcoal.
  • Cover the bowl and the put the lid on the pan of the dal.
  • Wait for few minutes for the smoke to infuse in the Dal.
  • Uncover the pan and remove the steel bowl from the Dal.

Note: If you want the heavy smoky flavour, then keep the bowl for the longer time. But usually, it not advised keeping the bowl for more than 1 or 2 minutes. After some time, remove the lid and take out the bowl.