Dal Tadka

Smoked Dal Tadka

At Indian restaurants dal tadka or dal fry is a commonly ordered lentil. Simple yet loaded with flavor this dal is delicious and a staple part of Indian day-to day meal. Yellow Moong Dal is boiled and cooked with onion, tomatoes and aromatic spices that adds a very nice texture and bite to it after being cooked. Dried Fenugreek leaves give this dish a unique flavor and end result is a very tasty Indian Smoked Dal Tadka.

During my childhood travel between Jaipur- Delhi highway I loved to eat at dha-bas along the roadside that serve this dal tadka. Their dal has a mild smoky flavor that I am going to share this method today with step by step process of the dhungar method (read more about dhungar method). Dhungar method means smoking a dish with hot charcoal and is also referred to as coal smoking cooking technique. Hot charcoal in a heatproof bowl is drizzled with ghee and placed on top of cooked dal, and the lid is closed. Let the dal absorb all the smoky flavor. 


Usually dal is cooked in the listed time but after opening the cooker you find chana dal is still half cooked then babysit the lentils and cook them longer till they are soft and tender, if needed keep adding water to get a nice smooth consistency.

I have kept the flavors on a mild side but very adaptive recipe – adjust seasonings along the way. Add ginger-garlic to bring out more flavor. Enjoy this dal with warm rotis and white rice.


Dal Tadka
Votes: 7
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
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Combination of lentils cooked with spices and smoked using dhungar method or smoked charcoal technique.
Servings Prep Time
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
Cook Time
Dal Tadka
Votes: 7
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Combination of lentils cooked with spices and smoked using dhungar method or smoked charcoal technique.
Servings Prep Time
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
Cook Time
  • 1/4 cup Moong Dal (Split moong beans)
  • 1/4 cup Tuvar dal (Split pigeon pea)
  • 1/4 cup Chana dal (Split chickpeas)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric OR Haldi
  • 3-1/4 cup Water
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 small Tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • 2 pieces of Whole red Chilies
  • 1/8 teaspoon Hing/ Asafoetida
  • 1/2 teaspoon Coarsely pounded coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder (optional)
  • 2 teaspoon Kastoori methi/ dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee
  • 2-3 pieces of Charcoal
  • 1 teaspoon Ghee
  1. Assemble all the ingredients for dal.
  2. Wash and clean dals under tap water.
  3. In a pressure cooker add dals, salt, turmeric and water. Close the lid and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles.
  4. Once all the pressure is released from the cooker, open and check the dal. Dal will look like this all cooked, set it aside.
  5. Assemble ingredients for tadka.
  6. In a kadhai prepare tempering or tadka by adding ghee and spices...
  7. Add chopped onions and tomatoes.
  8. Saute till onions and tomatoes are soft, well - blended and ghee starts to leave the tadka..
  9. Pour in the dal...
  10. Mix and adjust spices...
  11. Bring it to a boil and dal is ready. If you like adjust the consistency of dal by adding more water.
  1. For the smoky flavor follow the steps below. On a medium low flame heat charcoal.
  2. When it catches fire lower the flame and keep heating...
  3. In 10 minutes it will be red hot...
  4. Using a tong, carefully lift the hot charcoal...
  5. And drop it in a stainless steel bowl or katori..
  6. Place this bowl on the cooked dal...
  7. Drizzle some ghee on top...
  8. It will start to sizzle...
  9. Place lid on top...
  10. And trap the smoke, let the dal soak in the smoky flavor...
  11. If you like it extra smoky then carefully place a towel on top of the cooked dal ...
  12. And close the lid. Be careful cloth SHOULD NOT TOUCH THE HOT CHARCOAL.
  13. Leave it for 3 - 5 minutes, carefully remove katori from dal and set it aside. When charcoal is completely cooled off discard it.
  14. Smoky dal tadka is ready.
  15. Serve it hot with rice or warm rotis.
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28 Responses

  1. Mrs. Hasan says:

    Hi. If I burn onion on stove instead of coal for smoky flavor. Will it work? Kindly guide m. Thanks

  2. Namratha says:

    Can I burn small piece of wood for charchol

  3. Amrita says:

    Hi Ruchi,

    You explain so well, thoroughly enjoy your pics. I am a novice don’t enjoy cooking that much because I lack the vision of making it. With your recipes I have everything right in front of me and I am tempted to cook some yummy recipes. Have made this tonight skipped the smoky part as it was too complicated for a first timer like me may be next time. Dal tastes very yummy. Thank you,


  4. Sonam says:

    Creatively demonstrated and it has guided me through every step. My dal was very tasty….had a burnt taste and spices were to the mark…thanks for sharing.

  5. Pearl says:

    Yummy recipe, made this and everyone just loved the recipe. Your photography is too good, makes anyone fall in love again. Thanks dear.

  6. Roops says:

    I am a long long time follower of your site since 2000, tried many of your recipes but then stopped following you as it was never updated. Soon found you again through a link and was excited to see your site. New and improved and loaded with pictures. Made this dal and its super simple, delicious and yummy dal. BTW, Beautiful clicks adds so much fun to cooking. Thanks

    • RK says:

      Welcome my friend and follower! Family priorities came in first and my food passion had to take a break. Glad you found me back and thanks for your lovely feedback. Thanks for trying out my recipe and so happy to hear that you liked it. Keep checking back for more. 🙂

  7. Bhawana says:

    Great job on your blog Ruchi! You have made cooking easier for everyone. Your step photography competes video shows. So much detail and clarity in your recipes. Just loving it. Tried this and was fab. Followed the Dhua method and my hubby just loved the taste. All thanks to you.

  8. Nisha says:

    I have become a pro in making these. Everytime it turn out perfect. I make a jar every other week and keep it in my frideg. thanks Ruchi. Like the idea of beetroot to color onions instead of adding artificial colors.

    • RK says:

      You are welcome Nisha. I guess you wanted to post this comment in “Vinegar onion Post” but posted the comment here. Anyways, thanks for trying out vinegar onion recipe, I am glad to hear that you liked it. 🙂

  9. Yashika says:

    Daal tadka is one of my favorites recipe and had always thought how to get that flavor in my dals. Searched FLAVOR IN DAL TADKA and the first image that popped up in google images was yours. Followed your image source and landed on your page. The presentation is excellent, so well demonstrated.Got all the materials and tried it. IT WAS SUPERB! kept the charcoal a bit longer and it got a much deeper flavor. My family loved it. Thanks Ruchi!

  10. Riya says:

    Delicious recipe and would recommend it to everyone.Tried the recipe yesterday and was awesome. I was searching for an easy dal tadka recipe for a long time & my search ended today with your site…:lol: Really this dal tadka make my day! thanks a lot for sharing..Love

  11. Your fan says:

    Excellent recipe! Tried it yesterday, and it tasted great. Flavors were very nice. Lovely clicks Ruchi. You make the dish come alive. Especially the second one yellow with bright red color – ummmm yummy!! totally mouthwatering. Never tried the dhungar method but it was pretty easy. Will be using it more often. Hubby was very impressed!!

  12. Sharanya says:

    I am surprised at the ingenuity of the idea of smoky dal. Totally a keeper this idea is. I happened to just visit your blog and your recipes are very good and your pictures capture the essence of it.

  13. Fatima says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe and that to with smoke. Is it that easy or you make it look easy? Just wondering?? Anyway awesome awesome recipes. Have been visiting your website since old days 😉

    • RK says:

      Thanks Fatima! Sure give it a try and share your experience with me, would love to hear back from you 🙂

  14. Nalini says:

    Lovely recipe, totally bowled over your pictures. Tried the smoky method for the first time and it smelled great, and tasted deliciously spicy! It was extremely delicious and my husband really liked it over rice. He even mentioned about the distinctive smoky flavor in dal. This is a keeper! Thoroughly enjoyed this, thank you!

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