Dal Fry

Easy dal fry with dhaba style trick/option.  Make it in an Instant Pot, pressure cooker or stovetop. It is a thick, hearty dal that is tempered / has tadka with big, delicious flavors of garlic, onions, tomatoes and spices. Serve it with some jeera rice and you are set for dinner!
Dal fry in a blue bowl with rice, onions and a curry leaf garnish with a silver spoon to the side.

Vegetarian with easy vegan, gluten free options

Time to make: 20 minutes (Instant Pot)

Table of Contents

Keys To Dal Fry

  • Tadka or Tempering: This is where the big flavor comes! Cooking spices, garlic, onions, ginger and tomatoes in ghee or oil infuses the whole dish with a deep, bold flavor.
  • Dal: While this recipe uses toor dal, you can use other dals or combinations of dal.  Other dals you can use are moong, masoor or chana.  Note, the Instant Pot cooking times vary with the types of dal. 
  • Consistency: Dal fry is a thicker dal compared to other dals like Spinach Dal which has a more fluid consistency
Dal fry in a blue bowl garnished with jeera rice, red onions, curry leaf and a silver spoon to the side resting on a gray plate.

Ingredient Notes / Substitutions

Ghee: You can use oil in place of ghee, however, I recommend not skipping the ghee for the lush flavor.

Tomatoes: I used crushed tomatoes but you can use 3 small tomatoes in its place. The crushed tomatoes is what makes this dal look a bit darker in the picture above than usual dal fry.

Smoked paprika: Although, this is not necessary for the recipe it is what gives the dal a smoky flavor! Skip if you do not have.

Make it Vegan: skip the ghee and use oil in its place

Make it gluten-free: skip the asafetida (hing) and it is gluten-free

Make it Jain-friendly: Feel free to make the dal fry without onion and garlic.

Type of dal: While I like to use toor dal, you can use a variety of dals like masoor, moong or chana.  Note, the cook times will vary with other dals though and are not covered in this post.

Toor dal in a white bowl

What is tur or toor dal?

Toor dal, also known as arhar or split pigeon peas, tuvar is a yellow dal that mildly flavored dal that is used commonly in Indian cuisine.  It is sold oiled or dry.  I use the oiled version for this and always rinse before using. The oil acts as a preservative.

Dhaba Style Trick

For restaurant or dhaba style, you can use the dhungar method.  This basically uses smoked charcoal to infuse a smoky flavor into the dal. My favorite way is to use smoked paprika instead.  It is optional

Tips

Serve it with:  Serve it with jeera rice, papad, onions and chapati or roti.

How to reheat dal fry? Since this is a thicker dal and it thickens with time, you will likely need to add a little water to get it to a good consistency when reheating. Use a microwave or stovetop to reheat.

How long can I store dal fry? This will keep about 4 days in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Try it? Leave a review, love to hear feedback! Or tag me on Instagram @some_indian_girl

Dal fry in a blue bowl with rice, onions and a curry leaf garnish with a silver spoon to the side.

Easy Dal Fry With Dhaba Style Trick (Instant Pot, Stove Top, Pressure Cooker)

Shilpa Joshi
Easy dal fry with dhaba style trick/option.  Make it in an Instant Pot, pressure cooker or stovetop. It is a thick, hearty dal that is tempered / has tadka with big, delicious flavors of garlic, onions, tomatoes and spices. Serve it with some jeera rice and you are set for dinner!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 152 kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot or
  • Pressure cooker or
  • Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup toor dal 180g
  • 3-4 cloves garlic 15g crushed
  • 1 tbsp ginger crushed
  • ¼ cup onions chopped, 50g
  • ¼ cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cumin coriander blend dhana jeeru 1/2 cumin powder, 1/2 coriander powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder lal mirch
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp turmeric

Tadka

  • 2 tsp ghee or oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp asafatida hing
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 pieces cloves
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds

Instructions
 

Instant Pot

  • Press Saute. Add oil and let warm up 3-4 minutes. Add mustard seeds. Let sizzle. Add asafetida. Add cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds. Then cloves and broken cinnamon sticks.
    2 tsp ghee or oil, ½ tsp mustard seeds, ½ tsp asafatida, ½ tsp cumin seeds, 3 pieces cloves, 3-4 cinnamon sticks, ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
    Spices in oil in Instant Pot.
  • Add garlic, onions then ginger.
    Garlic and onions added to ghee in Instant pot.
  • Add curry leaves.
    Ginger and curry leaves added to Instant Pot.
  • Add dal and spices.
    Crushed tomatoes and spices added to Instant Pot.
  • Add water
    Water added to dal fry blend.
  • Press Pressure Cook and increase time to 8 minutes. Let cook then do manual release.
    Instant Pot
  • Dal is ready
    Dal fry ready in pot.
  • Serve with rice and onions. Optionally top with cilantro.
    Dal fry in a blue bowl with rice, onions and a curry leaf garnish with a silver spoon to the side.

Pressure Cooker

    Notes

    Dal fry tastes great with jeera rice

    Nutrition

    Calories: 152kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 9gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 635mgPotassium: 107mgFiber: 9gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 45IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 67mgIron: 2mg
    Keyword 30 minute meal, dal fry, easy indian dinner, instant pot dal, toor dal
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe Rating




    Scroll to Top