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.
- 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
- Assemble: all the ingredients for dal.
- Wash and clean dals under tap water.
- In a pressure cooker add dals, salt, turmeric and water. Close the lid and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles.
- Once all the pressure is released from the cooker, open and check the dal. Dal will look like this all cooked, set it aside.
- Assemble: ingredients for tadka.
- In a kadhai prepare tempering or tadka by adding ghee and spices...
- Add chopped onions and tomatoes.
- Saute till onions and tomatoes are soft, well - blended and ghee starts to leave the tadka..
- Pour in the dal...
- Mix and adjust spices...
- Bring it to a boil and dal is ready. If you like adjust the consistency of dal by adding more water.
- For the smoky flavor follow the steps below. On a medium low flame heat charcoal.
- When it catches fire lower the flame and keep heating...
- In 10 minutes it will be red hot...
- Using a tong, carefully lift the hot charcoal...
- And drop it in a stainless steel bowl or katori..
- Place this bowl on the cooked dal...
- Drizzle some ghee on top...
- It will start to sizzle...
- Place lid on top...
- And trap the smoke, let the dal soak in the smoky flavor...
- If you like it extra smoky then carefully place a towel on top of the cooked dal ...
- And close the lid. Be careful cloth SHOULD NOT TOUCH THE HOT CHARCOAL.
- Leave it for 3 - 5 minutes, carefully remove katori from dal and set it aside. When charcoal is completely cooled off discard it.
- Smoky dal tadka is ready.
- Serve it hot with rice or warm rotis.