11 Best Dal (Indian Lentils) Recipes You Must Try

11 Best Dal (Indian Lentils) Recipes You Must Try

Indian cuisine is much like its culture – varied. Different recipes can be prepared using one common ingredient. Dal is one of the most famous ingredients used in our cuisine, and there is a huge variety of recipes to choose from. From the bright yellow chana dal to tasty moong dal, here is a selection of the best dal recipes from every state of the country.

Easy and Healthy Dal Recipes You Can Make at Home

We all have eaten dal, but may not know how to exactly make it. Here are some easy dal-based recipes for you to try:

1.  Moong Dal Dosa

Healthy and easy, this moong dal recipe is bound to be a hit with your family.

Moong Dal

Ingredients:

  • Moong dal – 2 cups
  • Urad dal – 1 cup
  • Green chillies – 5
  • Ginger – 1 teaspoon, grated
  • Salt – two teaspoons

Total Cook Time:

6 hours

Servings:

Serves Four

Method:

  • Soak moong dal and urad dal in water and keep in a cool place to ferment for at least three hours. If you have the time, leave it to soak overnight.
  • Blend the ingredients together until they reach a batter-like consistency.
  • Leave aside to rise for a couple of hours.
  • In a pan, fry the dosas with oil or ghee until crisp.
  • Serve with chutney or sambar.

2.  Dal Tadka

Here is a dal recipe made in restaurant style.

Dal Tadka

Ingredients:

  • Arhar dal – 1 cup
  • Green chillies – 2, split lengthwise
  • Onion – 1, chopped
  • Tomato – 2, chopped
  • Ginger – ½ inch, grated
  • Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Asafoetida – ½ teaspoon
  • Water – 2 ½ cups
  • Kasuri methi – 1 teaspoon, crushed
  • Coriander leaves – 1 tablespoon, chopped
  • Ghee – 1 ½ tablespoon
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Garlic cloves – 6, finely chopped
  • Dry red chillies – 3
  • Red chilli powder – ½ teaspoon

Total Cook Time: 

30 minutes

Servings:

Serves four

Method:

  • Rinse and then add the dal to a pressure cooker with the chopped tomatoes, onions, green chillies, ginger, turmeric and asafoetida and 2 ½ cups water.
  • Mix everything well and then pressure cook for 8 whistles.
  • Mash the dal well until you have a creamy but not too thick consistency.
  • Let the dal simmer for about five minutes.
  • Add the kasuri methi, garam masala powder, coriander and salt.
  • Mix well and remove from heat.
  • In a small pan, heat some ghee. Add some cumin seeds until they begin to crackle.
  • Add the red chillies, chopped garlic and asafoetida.
  • Once the garlic turns brown, add the chilli powder and mix well.
  • Pour the tempering onto dal and cover.

3.  Dal Fry

Here is a simple Dal Fry recipe.

Dal Fry

Ingredients:

  • Yellow moong dal – ¼ cup, soaked for two hours then drained
  • Masoor dal – 1 cup, soaked for two hours then drained
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
  • Green chillies – 2
  • Ginger – 1 teaspoon, grated
  • Garlic – 1 teaspoon, grated
  • Salt
  • Ghee – 2 tablespoons
  • Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Kalonji (Nigella seeds) – ½ teaspoon
  • Kashmiri red chilli – 1 whole
  • Onions – ½ cup, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes – ½ cup finely chopped
  • Coriander – 1 tablespoon, finely chopped

Total Cook Time:

2 hours, 30 minutes

Servings:

Serves four

Method:

  • Put the dal, green chillies, turmeric powder, garlic, ginger, salt and 2 ½ cups of water in a pressure cooker.
  • Mix and cook for two whistles.
  • Heat ghee and add dry red chilly, mustard seeds and nigella seeds and sauté until they turn fragrant.
  • Add onions and sauté until they turn translucent.
  • Add the tomatoes along with a quarter cup of water and cook for a few minutes on medium heat.
  • Add the cooked dal mixture with ¼ cup of water and mix.
  • Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Stir it now and then.
  • Garnish with coriander and serve.

4.  Dal Makhani

Here is a Punjabi Dal Makhani recipe for you.

Dal Makhani

Ingredients:

  • Whole urad dal – ¾ cup, soaked overnight
  • Rajma – ¼ cup, soaked overnight
  • Water – 3 cups
  • Onion – 1, finely chopped
  • Green chillies – 2, finely chopped
  • Ginger-garlic paste – 2 teaspoons
  • Tomato puree – 1 cup
  • Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Cloves – 3
  • Green cardamom – 3
  • Black cardamom – 1
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch
  • Indian bay leaf – 1
  • Red chilli powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Nutmeg – 3 pinches, grated or powder
  • Cream – ¼ cup
  • Kasturi methi – ¼ teaspoon
  • Butter – 3 tablespoons
  • Salt to taste

Total Cook Time:

1 hour

Servings:

Serves 4

Method:

  • Add the soaked and rinsed dal to a pressure cooker with 3 cups of water.
  • Stir everything together well.
  • Pressure cook for about 18 whistles. If not yet cooked, cook for five more whistles after adding ½ cup water.
  • Heat butter in a pan and add the whole spices. Sauté till they become fragrant.
  • Add the onions and sauté till they’re translucent.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and cook till the raw smell is gone.
  • Add green chillies and sauté.
  • Add tomato puree and stir.
  • Add nutmeg and chilli powder. Cook this mixture till you see the fat begin to separate.
  • Add the rajma beans and urad dal.
  • Cook everything on low flame for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the cream and mix well.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and cream.

5.  Chana Dal Chutney

This delicious Chana Dal Chutney goes well with dosa, idli and even as a side dish for your main course.

Chana Dal Chutney

Ingredients:

  • Split Bengal gram – 2 tablespoons
  • Red chillies – 3
  • Salt – 1 ½ teaspoon
  • Asafoetida – ½ teaspoon
  • Cumin – ½ teaspoon
  • Oil – 2 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Green chilli – 1
  • Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Curd – ½ cup
  • Pepper – ½ teaspoon

Total Cook Time:

15 minutes

Servings:  

Serves four

Method:

  • In a frying pan, heat some oil and fry the red chillies, cumin and split Bengal gram till you get a fragrance. Set aside to cool.
  • Put the ingredients in a blender along with pepper, asafoetida and salt, and blend well.
  • Add curd to the mix.
  • For the tempering, heat oil in a pan and fry mustard seeds, curry leaves and green chillies together and then pour into the chutney.
  • Mix everything together well and serve with dosa, idli or even with piping hot rice and a teaspoon of ghee for a yummy rice dish!

6.  Dal Dhokli

This Indian dal recipe originated in Gujarat and is known for its incredible flavour.

Dal Dhokli
Source: Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • Green moong dal – ½ cup
  • Red chilli powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Curry leaves – 2 teaspoons
  • Cumin seeds – ¼ teaspoon
  • Ghee – 1 tablespoon
  • Garam masala powder – ¼ teaspoon
  • Coriander leaves – ½ tablespoon, chopped
  • Turmeric – 1/8 teaspoon
  • Cumin powder – ¼ teaspoon
  • Bay leaf – ½
  • Asafoetida – 1 pinch
  • Refined oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Wheat flour – ¼ cup

Total Cook Time:

1 hour

Servings:

Serves two

Method:

  • In a large bowl, mix cumin powder, turmeric, chopped coriander, salt, oil and wheat flour.
  • Add just enough water to knead the mix into a dough.
  • Make small balls and roll them out in the same way you would a chapati.
  • Cut out each piece into a square.
  • Take a wide dish and fill it with water.
  • Bring the water to boil and then add the dhokli pieces one by one.
  • Once the dhoklis begin to soften, take them out and keep them separately.
  • Pressure cook the dal with 1 cup of water.
  • Add oil and ghee to a pan and add bay leaf, cumin seeds, curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida to it.
  • Sauté for a few seconds and then add red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and turmeric powder to the spices.
  • Mix well.
  • Quickly add this tempering to the dal along with some salt and let it cook for a few minutes
  • Add the dhokli towards the end of cooking, giving them only about a minute or two on the heat.

7.  Pancharatna Dal

Of all the dal recipes, only this one includes the goodness of five types of lentils.

Pancharatna Dal
Source: Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • Whole urad dal – ¼ cup
  • Chana dal – ¼ cup
  • Moong dal – ¼ cup
  • Masoor dal – ¼ cup
  • Tuvar dal – ¼ cup
  • Onions – 2, fine chopped
  • Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tablespoon
  • Green chillies – 3
  • Tomatoes – 2, chopped
  • Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Oil – 1 ½ tablespoon
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Asafoetida – a pinch
  • Coriander – 2 sprigs, fine chopped
  • Salt to taste

Total Cook Time:

1 hour, 15 minutes

Servings:

Serves four

Method:

  • Leave the lentils to soak for at least two hours before you start making the dish.
  • Once they have thoroughly soaked, add them to a pressure cooker and cook for four whistles.
  • Add oil to a pan and let it heat.
  • Add the cumin seeds and asafoetida.
  • As the cumin begins to turn brown, add ginger-garlic paste and sauté once again.
  • Add the green chillies, tomatoes and coriander powder.
  • Once the oil begins to separate, add the dal, whisking a bit before pouring.
  • Mix well and allow it to cook on low flame for 15 minutes.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.

8.  Methi Palak Dal

This recipe uses moong dal and spinach.

Dal Palak
Source: Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • Moong dal – ¼ cup
  • Oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds – ¼ teaspoon
  • Curry leaves – 4
  • Onion – ½ , chopped
  • Green chillies – 3, chopped
  • Garlic – 2 pods
  • Salt to taste
  • Turmeric – ¼ teaspoon
  • Chilli powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Fenugreek leaves – 1 cup, chopped
  • Spinach – 1 cup, chopped
  • Lime juice – 1 tablespoon
  • Water – 1 cup

Total Cook Time:

1/2 hour

Servings:

Serves two

Method:

  • Cook dal in a pressure cooker with half a cup of water. Three whistles should be enough.
  • In a pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves.
  • When the seeds start to pop, add green chillies and cook till the onions turn translucent.
  • Add garlic and fenugreek leaves and cook until leaves wilt.
  • Add chilli powder, turmeric and salt, and stir well.
  • Next, add spinach and cook till the leaves wilt.
  • Mash dal and add it to the mixture.
  • After mixing well, add a cup of water and let it cook for about ten minutes.
  • Add lime juice and stir well.
  • Cover and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

9.  Hyderabadi Khatti Dal

This spicy lentils recipe is the Hyderabadi version of Khatti Dal.

Hyderabadi Khatti Dal

Ingredients:

  • Dhuli masoor dal – 1 cup
  • Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Tomatoes – 1 cup, chopped
  • Ginger-garlic paste – 1 teaspoon
  • Red chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Green chillies – 3, split into halves
  • Tamarind pulp – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil – 3 tablespoons
  • Garlic – 6 cloves, crushed
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Dry red chillies – 3
  • Curry leaves – 12
  • Coriander – 1 tablespoon, chopped

Total Cook Time:

40 minutes

Servings:

Serves four

Method:

  • Add dal to a pressure cooker with salt, tomato, turmeric powder, ginger-garlic paste, green chillies and red chilli powder.
  • Cook for three whistles on low heat.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Once all the steam has been released, open the lid. Add tamarind pulp and mix.
  • Heat oil in a small pan to make the tempering.
  • Add garlic and let it fry till golden brown.
  • Add mustard and cumin seeds and wait for them to pop.
  • Add this to the dal and sprinkle coriander as garnish. Serve with rice and sabji.

10.  Dal Mughlai

This recipe tells you how to make tasty dal in a style that originated in the royal kitchens.

Dal Mughlai
Source: Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • Tuvar dal – ¾ cup
  • Chana dal – ¼ cup
  • Tomatoes – 1 cup, chopped
  • Bottle gourd – 2 cups, cubed
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Garlic – ½ teaspoon, finely chopped
  • Green chillies – 1 teaspoon, finely chopped
  • Ginger – 1 teaspoon, grated
  • Onions – ¾ cup, sliced
  • Coriander – 2 tablespoons, fine chopped

Total Cook Time:

Forty minutes

Servings:

Serves six

Method:

  • After washing, allow the dal to soak for at least half an hour and then drain.
  • Add bottle gourd, tomatoes, turmeric powder, salt, 3 cups of water and dal to a pressure cooker.
  • Cook for three whistles.
  • Once the steam has escaped, remove the lid and whisk the dal.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and let them pop.
  • Now add green chillies, garlic, onions and ginger and sauté until onions are golden brown.
  • Add the dal, salt and 1/4 cup of water.
  • Mix well. Garnish with coriander and serve.

11.  Dal Bharta

Rich with spices, this dish is bound to impress.

Dal Bharta
Source: Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • Tuvar dal – 2 cups
  • Onion – ¼
  • Garlic – 2 cloves
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Cinnamon – 1-inch stick,
  • Black peppercorn – 6
  • Salt to taste
  • Water
  • Onion – 1, chopped
  • Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tablespoon
  • Tomatoes – 2, chopped
  • Cashew nut paste – 3 tablespoons
  • Yoghurt – 3 tablespoons, whisked
  • Fresh cream – 2 tablespoons
  • Red chilli powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Cumin powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Butter – 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander – 2 sprigs, finely chopped

Total Cook Time:

40 minutes

Servings:

Serves eight

Method:

  • Boil the dal with onion, garlic cloves, cinnamon sticks, black pepper, bay leaf and salt.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add onions and salt.
  • Sauté till the onions turn golden brown.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and cook till the raw smell goes away.
  • Add tomatoes and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Cover and cook until tomatoes turn soft.
  • In a bowl, add powdered spices and make a paste of it using water.
  • Once the tomatoes have softened, pour in the masala paste and cook till the mix is dry.
  • Add the dal and sauté well till it has completely blended with the spices.
  • Add cashew paste and yoghurt and mix well with one cup of water.
  • Add cream and butter, and allow everything to cook till it is creamy in texture.
  • Turn off the heat. Garnish with eggs and coriander.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions:

1. How Much Time Does It Take for Dal to Boil?

Dal can take a long time to boil if not soaked for a minimum of one to two hours. Dals like tuvar dal, moong dal and split Bengal gram will boil in 30 minutes while dals like chana dal and rajma need to be boiled for 40 minutes. If you’re using a pressure cooker, the time taken will be about 15 minutes.

2. How Long Does Dal Last in the Fridge?

Cooked dal can be kept in the fridge for about four to five days without it going bad.

3. How Can I Make Dal Thicker?

You can thicken dal by using cream, coconut milk, tomato paste or stock. You can also allow the dal to cook for longer until enough water evaporates, bringing the dal to the consistency you desire. Mashing the dal also thickens it and gives it a creamier texture.

4. What Happens If I Don’t Soak Dal?

While not all lentils need to be soaked, lentils like beans are better after a good soaking. This is because soaking helps to speed up the cooking time as well as eliminate gas. If you do not soak lentils, you will need to waste a lot more gas or electricity to cook it, or may end up with uncooked dal.

Adding dal to your diet is beneficial as they are rich in protein, fibre, minerals and vitamins. So, get into your kitchen and give something a shot. You will be healthier and happier for it. Your taste buds will thank you too.

Also Read:

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Delicious Rice Flour Recipes to Try at Home
Nutritious Steam Food Recipes You Should Consider