Tuvar dal tadka

This recipe uses Tuvar dal, which is the most commonly used lentil in India, every other lentil follows.


1 cup tuvar dal (split pigeon peas)
2 tablespoons ghee (use another tsp or so, for garnish if you would like)
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic (roughly chopped)
1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped
4-5 curry leaves (torn into half, each)
1 medium sized Roma tomato (chopped)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon jaggery/sugar


Using a pressure cooker, cook dal (that has been rinsed once and drained) until 3 whistles or until completely cooked. You will normally need 3 whistles and 3 cups of water to cook 1 cup dal. You can also soak dal overnight in 3 cups water and cook in the same water next day, which will take more time to cook (about 45 minutes to an hour) and perhaps, another 2 cups of water.
Heat ghee in a 3 qt pot over medium heat. When ghee is hot, add mustard seeds and allow it to crackle. This will take 3 minutes or so.
Add cumin seeds, asafoetida powder and saute for half a minute, add curry leaves, garlic and jalapeno and saute for 4-5 minutes. Stir constantly.
Add turmeric, cayenne powder, tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes. Add dal and mix well.
To this add salt and jaggery/ sugar, and mix well. Bring it to a boil, check to see the consistency that you are looking for, if it is too thick add water, if too runny then boil for a few minutes to thicken it up.
Garnish with cilantro, and ghee, if using and serve hot with steamed rice.

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