Easy Dal Fry. Red and yellow lentils spiced with Indian spices and tempering. Easy, Vegan, Gluten-free Soy-free, nut-free. Serves 2 to 3
This is Hubbs’ weekend mixed lentil dal fry. After experiments in the kitchen during the week, I generally want to stay out of the kitchen on the weekend. So its either eat out or he cooks 🙂
He usually will pick up red lentils (masoor dal) and petite yellow lentils (mung dal / split green gram) and make a version of this dal. Both the lentils are on the same shelf, else split peas :0 . He is also very generous with the tempering. He will chop up the entire onion, a bunch of garlic and ginger (which I forgot to add to the written recipe below when it was posted, though the dal will be fab with or without) and add the spices generously. The resulting dal always comes out fabulously delicious. He also incorporates some new tricks he picks up from his reads, like adding a splash of lemon to the onions or/and tomatoes. When I make dal, I think everyday Dal and tadka, and tadka(tempering) is usually a light flavoring. There are no such restrictions when hubbs cooks, so his tempering adds volume, tons of flavor, which works really well served up with a veggie side of gobi aloo, Indian pickle, papadum, rotis and rice. Ah, bliss.
Yellow lentils (mung dal) take longer to cook, hence the red lentils will break down in the dal. The porridge like consistency is the preferred consistency when it comes to Indian dahls. If you like them less mushy, use 1 type of lentil (all red or all yellow) and cook until al-dente and then add the tempering.
What is your favorite weekend meal?
For Hindi and English names of some of the commonly used lentils and beans in Indian cuisine, see this post with lentil pictures! Or of course get my cookbook 🙂
There several ways to make dals. Dal Fry and Dal tadka are 2 of them. Both methods are slightly different methods of making the dal but give a different flavor profile. Lentils are cooked first in Dal fry and then different types of tadka or fry tadka are added. Dal tadka can have dal cooked with the volume ingredients like onion, tomato etc, and a tadka/tempering of just oil and spices added at the end.
More Dals from the blog
- Kashmiri Dal – Split Pea & Yellow Lentil Soup…
- Dal Tadka Mix in a Jar. Pink Lentil soup in a Jar. Vegan…
- Oil free Lentil Soup. Spicy Garlic Dal
- Easy Chana Dal Recipe. Split Chickpea Soup
Pictured below with high protein spiced flatbreads (methi thepla) I make for hubbs to take along on his hikes.
Dal Fry - Spiced Indian Lentil soup
- 1/3 cup (60 g) red lentils masoor dal
- 1/4 cup (48 g) petite yellow lentils yellow mung dal or use red lentils
- 3.5 cups (875 ml) water
- 2 tsp oil
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) black mustard seeds
- a generous pinch of asafetida omit if you do not have gluten-free asafetida to make gf
- 1 hot green chili finely chopped
- 1 cup (150 g) chopped red or white onion
- 5 or more cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 inch of ginger finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground coriander or garam masala
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) turmeric
- 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) or more cayenne/red chili powder optional
- 1 large tomato chopped small
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp water
- 3/4 tsp (0.75 tsp) or more salt
- 1/3 cup (5.33 g) packed chopped cilantro
- Wash the red and yellow lentils, drain. Combine in a saucepan with water over medium heat. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes or until yellow lentils are tender. Reduce heat to low and simmer.
- Meanwhile make the tempering. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. when the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Let them start to sizzle and pop. the cumin seeds should change color and get fragrant. Add asafetida, chili, onion, garlic, ginger and a pinch of salt. Cook until translucent. about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Add coriander, turmeric, cayenne and mix well. Add tomatoes, lemon juice and a tbsp of water and mix. Cook until the tomatoes are saucy. Mash the larger pieces. About 6 minutes.
- Add the cooked lentils to the skillet (or the skillet contents to the lentil saucepan).
- Add salt and half of the chopped cilantro, and continue to simmer the soup for 3 to 4 minutes or until bubbling. Taste and adjust salt and spice. Add a dash of lemon juice if needed.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with rice or flatbread with a side of roasted veggies or Indian spiced vegetable side.
What is the bread / naan in the picture, being served along side the soup? I tried looking for it on your site, but couldn’t find the recipe. Would love it!
Vegan Richa Support
Vegan Richa Support
Thank you! 🙂
I work as a personal chef and I have a client that loves this recipe. She orders a minimum of 15 containers of it every month. If that’s not a stellar indication of how good this soup is then I don’t know what is.
Vegan Richa Support
wow! this is an awesome indication – thank you for sharing!
Made this today and it was soooo good!
Vegan Richa Support
I love this soup and make it often.
Vegan Richa Support
thank you Liz ❤️❤️
Is there anything that can be used instead of asafetida? I searched for a long time before finding some to buy. After using it once I realized I could never use it again. I do not like the scent or the flavor it imparts.
Just omit it and add 1-2 more cloves of garlic
I am new to preparing indian food and appreciate your recipes. Although I was lacking several ingredients I made this recipe and found it very tasty. I did add tomato paste at the very end. Thanks for the recipe!
Vegan Richa Support
This is one of the best dal soup I came across.
I love Indian food .
I make this every time I invite people over for Indian meal, and everyone love it.
Vegan Richa Support
Sounds like a great dinner party. Please do add a rating when you make again!
I love this recipe, it was the first one that I’ve used that have me the confidence and know how to really make homemade Indian food. Thank you so much for sharing it.
Oh my gosh. This is the best Dal I’ve ever had. Soooo flavorful. Just perfect.😍I served this alongside your Indian Mashed Potato recipe. So, so good!
I have made the recipe for 7 servings following the amounts advised and it is too much water for the amount of lentils, so it is not really good.
But thank you for the recipe.
Use less to preference. Indian dals are usually thin consistency as they are served with rice
So incredibly good. Easy directions made it fool proof. I have several Dal recipes but this may be my favorite
I made it and it is so delicious. Your cookbook is amazing, I have cooked many of the recipes from it 🙂
Could you please share what specific type of hot green chile pepper you recommend? Thank you!
Iuse serrano or thai
I made this for dinner tonight. It is excellent! Love the spice combo, complex flavors, very satisfying !
Definitely will be in my rotation of dishes.
Are u suppose to use the 3.5 cups of water from cooking lentils in the soup itself?
it becomes apart of the soup.
My 13 yr old son has been wanting to learn to cook Indian dishes, so I found this recipe and we started with this. After tasting it he said “This is the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted.” It is delicious! Thank for you for such a wonderful recipe with clear enough instructions that my son could put it together. The whole family is ga-ga over it!
Thats so amazing!! So glad it turned out so well!
I tried this in my instant pot tonight and I followed the recipe exactly but it is wayyyy too watery. Are you not suppose to use 3.5 cups water when using an Instant Pot? The instructions did not specify and I’m quite sad as I was looking forward to this recipe so much! Can you please specify how to cook the lentils in the Instant Pot?
it should say 1.5 to 2 cups water for instant pot. I think i missed adding that to the note. Sorry about that. You can cook the dal on saute for a few minutes uncovered to evaporate some of the water. Then blend it up into a thin soup.
I’ve just made this and it is seriously good to the point I will be disappointed if my OH eats the other portion!
Agreeing that the fresh lemon totally make this. Definitely one to be making on a regular basis.
This is the best Indian Dal I have ever made! The fresh lemon juice makes it!!!! Thank you for sharing so many delicious healthy foods!
Hi there – looks like it’s working perfect from the laptop 🙂 I just managed to rate it.
Google chrome from my IPad. I can try it from the laptop if you think it would make a difference.
Yes, please let me know if it does the same thing on laptop
I made this a tweet 07:30 am today. By 18:00 it was all gone. Next time will triple the amount 🙂 BTW Richa, I tried rating this recipe (5*obviously) but the ranking option didn’t react. Just an FYI.
Awesome! It gets a bit weird on certain browsers. Which one were you using?
hi! this looks great and I can’t wait to try it. Is the cook time on the lentils for having soaked them or not?
The cook time is for unsoaked. Check 5 minutes earlier to see if the lentils are done and you can take them off heat.
This soup is heavenly! We are not vegetarian so used our own chicken stock from the freezer. I didn’t have cumin seeds to just used the powder. I also didn’t have coriander and added little hot spicy stuff. My husband said this is one of the best things I’ve ever made. I am definitely making 2 or 3 times more of it at a time to have enough for the week.
Thank you for sharing!
Made this a couple of times. Delish!!
This Dal is amazing! I always double it, so we hopefully have left overs 🙂 I have cooked it a 1/2 dozen times, and every time I can’t get enough of the beautiful smells of the spices during cooking; and we and guests love it – I refer everyone to your website!
I love to cook. Your recipes allow me to venture out and enjoy discovering spices I didn’t know, or didn’t know how to use. Your book is also very helpful regarding the spices.
Thank you for creating heathy, wonderful recipes for us animal lovers!
Thank you! i am so happy that the recipes turn out so well. Spices add so much flavor to the food even in small quantities and many different flavors depending on the combinations used. Keeps the food interesting and new.
Hey! Am looking to try this recipe and wondering if you think it would turn out well in a slow-cooler? Thanks so much – huge fan of your blog.
What is the silver dish that holds little silver cups that appear to have spices and dal in it called?
Its called Spice tiffin or Masala Dabba. I got this one from https://www.worldmarket.com/product/stacking-storage-canister-or-spice-box.do
Our local indian restaurant serves a delicious dal soup and I’m still figuring out how to make it myself. So while searching online I found your site. Everything looks super delicious! I’ll try your dal recipe tonight.
One question though: In the introduction you mention “a bunch of garlic”, but I don’t see it in the recipe. Any remarks? As I love garlic, I’ll probably trow in some cloves. Wondering what you take is on this…
oh yes, why isnt it there in the recipe. Glad you caught that. Though the dal should taste great with or without. I must have written up the recipe this in the evening or something 🙂 updated now
Going through your website I found these lovely recipes of yours my hubby is Indian and I am coloured lady but I love Indian food and cannot cook any of these we always going out to eat which is getting to expensive please help and if you have a cook book please let me know where can I order this please.
Much appreciated thanks.
Yes i do have a cookbook. From your email id i am guessing you are somewhere in south Africa? You can buy the book online from any bookstores there.
This was super delicious, Richa! Thanks!
You have a COOKBOOK?!?! Ordering it!
Your hubs is so spoilt!
This combination is lovely.
When you add the cooked lentils to the pan, how much water do you transfer with it or drain and just the lentils? Also, you have an option to use some coconut milk, but does that mean you put it with water when you cook lentils or put some coconut water at the end?
Transfer all to the pan or you can transfer the pan ingredients to the saucepan with the cooking lentils. To use coconut milk, sub some of the water. So use 1 cup coconut milk and 2.5 cups water to cook the lentils.
So you cook lentils with 1.5 cup of liquid total not 3.5c as in recipe note above…?
sorry that was 2.5 cups water, so 1 cup coconut milk + 2.5 cups water , thats 3.5 cups liquid.
I actually soaked the lentil before so 1.5c liquid worked just perfect :). Thanks!
If I cannot find black mustard seeds do you recommend using regular mustard seeds or omitting from recipe? Thanks!
yes use any of yellow or brown mustard seeds that you have. yellow have a mild flavor profile, so you can add a bit more.
I love a lentil soup and can’t wait to try this one out.
H Richa, thanks to you and your husband for this recipe and info. I have both kinds of lentils at home. I’m also very interested in making that flatbread shown in the photos, so I’ll look for that recipe if you’re able to share it. All the best.
wow!! you’re lucky to have a husband that enjoys (and knows!) cooking 🙂
I have recently moved away from home and miss my mum’s daal but this recipe’s ingredients are almost identical – will definitely use this as a guide to make it on the weekend
a variation for your husband to try: (my family is punjabi) when frying the onion, add a small amount of crumbled wariyan) – I’m sure you would know what that is! it adds a delicious flavour to the daal (also, Amritsari wariyan is very spicy!)
Thankyou I love your cooking and tasty recipes….wonderful nurturing food!
This looks delicious, something I would definitely cook soon. Could you please tell me where to find the recipe for the high protein flatbreads? I searched your site and couldn’t find it, is it under a different name?
awesome! it will be soon on the site. probably by friday.
Funny, I just had Indian food last night! This is amazing.
The dal looks greats, I usually make toor dal and add a handful of chana dal to it for variation. I should try this moong-masoor combination too. I agree, a generous tempering really brings out the flavor in a dal. My favorite weekend meal is Rajma chawal.