When was the last time you had meal in an Indian restaurant? Did you order Dal tadka or dal fry for sharing? Of course you did! Yellow dal is one of the most ordered item on Indian restaurants’ menus across the world. But do you know the difference between the type of yellow dal we are offered in various places?
Here in the UK, I have seen this tradition of using Chana dal for Dal tadka and yellow Moong dal (or Mung) for Dal fry in most places. Although it really depends on region to region, to use the type of dal for these two, this is the most common norm at least in this part of the world.
The basic difference between Dal tadka and Dal fry (apart from the choice of lentil of course!) is the time of tempering. In Dal tadka, you cook the dal, transfer it into the serving bowl and then pour over the sizzling tadka or tempering on top. Whereas when you prepare Dal fry, you cook the dal, prepare the tempering in another pan or wok and then pour the dal on top of it, allow it to cook for a small time so the flavours get absorbed, and then finally transfer into a serving dish.
While the tempering ingredients remain more or less the same, the method and timing does create some difference. Dal tadka is slightly thicker and Garam masala is used in the tempering, owing to the Punjabi roots of this curry. Dal fry is kept tad spicier and the flavours are more mixed up or well absorbed.
I love both the versions by heart and prepare them very often for dinner. In fact, I make one lentil curry a.k.a. dal every day to fulfil the protein requirement of my body and well, they are delicious too!
Lets learn how to make restaurant style Mung Dal fry now
Serves: 2-4 people
Cuisine: North Indian
Cooking level: Easy
Accompaniments: Serve with rice, roti or paratha with a simple side dish (sabz) or pickle to complete the platter
Nutritional Benefits: Rich in fiber and proteins. Good source of calcium and vitamin A. Low GI, low calories and low fat
What you need?
- 1 cup yellow Mung dal
- 2-3 dried red chilies
- 1 tbsp cooking oil (I used coconut oil)
- 2-3 large cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ tsp cumin seeds, red chili powder, turmeric powder each
- ¼ tsp of dry mango powder (amchoor powder/ khatai)
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- A pinch of asafoetida ( hing/heeng)
How to make?
Rinse the dal well, and soak in plain water for 15 minutes. Rinse it again, drain and keep aside.
Pressure cook the dal with 3 cups of water, ½ tsp of turmeric, asafoetida, ½ tsp of dry mango powder and salt. Cook till 2 whistles and turn off the gas. Open when the pressure eases off
Heat oil in a pan, throw in cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add minced garlic and dried red chilies; let them fry for a bit. Add in the red chili powder, and a bit of salt if required.
Meanwhile transfer the dal into the serving dish or bowl and pour this sizzling tadka on top. Serve immediately with hot phulka or jeera rice.
I usually prepare Dal fry with a tempering (tadka) of garlic since that single-handedly uplifts the taste of the curry. If you don’t want to use it, I recommend keeping asafoetida (hing/heeng) for that extra punch
This recipe is practically vegan but using ghee for tempering imparts a fantastic flavour. You could even use Mustard oil for its sharpness if you are a fan
I have used green chilies for tempering instead of red dried ones, as shown in the photos here. Both bring in their distinctive flavours, and its totally up to you which one to use.
More restaurant style dishes you might like:
Paneer Makhani– A delicious, creamy, no onion-garlic curry adopted from Chef Harpal Sokhi
Malai Kofta- Soft, melt in mouth Kofta balls dunked in rich tomato gravy
Restaurant style Dal tadka- Another superb preparation using Moong dal and Toor dal
Authentic Hyderabadi veg Biryani- The real recipe for the famous rice preparation, explained both using stove top and oven
Shahi Paneer- Royal, rich curry which is served in every Indian restaurant