This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.

The best recipe for Dhaba-Style Butter Dal made with red lentils and a restaurant-style tempering! Super rich but there is no cream in this. Try it! Gluten-free Soyfree Nutfree

Indian butter daal served with rice on a plate

Coming at you with the best butter dal ever! This dal is a famous dish straight from a Dhaba in my hometown. For those who don’t know, Dhabas are little roadside restaurants serving simple yet flavorful and rustic dishes. They are an essential and vibrant component of the Indian food scene.

As compared to five-star restaurants, Dhabas have their own charm and lure and so does this dal. Minimalistic ingredients but bang-on flavor. This dhaba style butter dal always impresses us. After all, all of us sometimes want a big old bowl of comfort food and this dal is just that.

It’s called Butter dal because the Dhaba fries the dal in hot spiced butter  before serving.

a pan with vegan butter dal sprinkled with cilantro

Butter dal is a perfect and delicious Indian dal.   This recipe just happens to be onion and garlic free. It’s one of those recipes that doesnt use them by default. Street vendors don’t always have refrigeration, and Onion and garlic in the tropical heat can get quite smelly so some chefs just make the dishes without them.

why you will love this vegan butter dal!

  • it’s an easy but super delicious dollar.
  • It is highly allergy friendly gluten-free nut free soy free.
  • It also is allium free and doesn’t use any onion and garlic and is Jain friendly.
  • uses mostly common Indian spices. Use whichever you have.
  • The dal can be served with rice or corn greens, with roti or naan, or baked potato, or as a soup.

In book news: The book got featured on Washington post!, veg news magazine top cookbooks, tree hugger, green matters and more!. I’m loving all the reviews, do keep them coming. I am loving the book remakes tagged on social! Please review the book on Amazon or other retailers as reviews are incredibly helpful to get the book consistent distribution and marketing.

There are some supply chain issues at some retailers. if the prices look too high it’s probably they are running out of stock. wait for a day or so for the stock issues to be resolved to get better pricing. Thank you to everyone who is buying the book and cooking from it!! .

vegan butter daal served with rice and chopped with cilantro

More Indian dals:

Dhaba style Butter Dal Vegan no Onion No Garlic

5 from 18 votes
By: Vegan Richa
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
The best recipe for Dhaba-Style Butter Dal made with red lentils and a restaurant-style tempering! Super rich but there is no cream in this. Try it! Gluten-free Nutfree Soyfree allium free
Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Ingredients 
 

For the dal:

  • 3/4 cup split red lentils, (masoor dal) , see notes for other lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 inch ginger julienned or finely chopped
  • 1 hot green chili such as serano or indian chili finely chopped or , Use mild chili if you wish
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped small

For the tempering or tadka:

  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter or oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 dried red chilis, use hot Indian or Thai, or for mild use California red or Kashmiri
  • 6 black pepper corns
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek leaves
  • 2 teaspoon kashmiri chili powder or use paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or indian chili powder, optional
  • 1 large tomato cubed into 1 inch slices
  • cilantro and lemon juice for garnish

Instructions 

  • Cook the dal: add all of the ingredients under dal in a saucepan and mix well.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat. Then partially cover after bringing to a boil then cook until the dal is tender to preference, 13-15 minutes. See recipe notes if using other lentils
  • Make the tempering: add butter to a skillet over medium heat.  Once the butter is melted and hot, add the cumin seeds and cook for a minute until the seeds change color and get very fragrant.
  • Then add in the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon stick, dried chilis, pepper corns and fenugreek leaves. Mix well and cook until the chilies change color. About Half a minute
  • Add in the kashmiri chili powder or paprika, ground coriander and cayenne if using then mix well and then immediately add in the chopped tomato and the cooked dal(lentils along with the water).
  • Mix well. Taste and adjust salt and flavor and once the dal comes to a boil, switch off the heat.
  • Garnish with cilantro and lemon or lime juice and serve over rice or with flatbread.

Notes

For variation:  use other lentils such as moong dal, toor dal or urad dal. Moong dal will take about 20 mins to cook and toor will take 30 mins on stove top.
Instant pot pressure cooking times: Masoor dal -3 mins, Moong Dal or Urad dal - 6 mins, toor dal -10 mins . Quick release after 5 mins 

Nutrition

Calories: 184kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 325mg, Potassium: 623mg, Fiber: 13g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 1155IU, Vitamin C: 59mg, Calcium: 52mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this recipe? Rate and comment below!

a pan with vegan butter dal sprinkled with cilantro
Ingredients:

  • for this recipe I use red lentils (masoor dal) – they cook rather quickly. If you are using another type, adjust cooking times. Toor dal (split pigeon pea), moong dal (split green mung) or other lentils work as well or even a combination of lentils. Cook until tender to preference
  • the lentils are cooked with ginger, tomato, chili, fenugreek leaves and turmeric
  • For the tempering, we fry the following whole spices in vegan butter: cumin, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, chili, peppercorn
  • we finish the tadka with ground spices (kashmiri chili powder, coriander and cayenne or indian chili powder
  •  tomato adds some acidity , texture and color to the lentils
  • I finish all the dal with cilantro and lemon juice for garnish

Tips:

  • Endlessly versatile, daals can be as thin as soup, or as thick as porridge so add as much water/broth as you want.
  • Dal will take on just about any spice you throw at them so feel free to experiment with the amounts
  • This dal tastes amazing with plain rice,  jeera rice or any type of rice like pulao or even fried rice. You can also serve this dal with different types of roti, naan and parathas.

 

ingredients for making butter daal on a marble surface

How to make Dhaba Style Butter Dal

a pot with tomatoes and red lentils

Cook the dal: add all of the ingredients under dal in a saucepan and mix well.

Bring to a boil over medium heat. Then partially cover after bringing to a boil then cook until the dal is tender to preference, 13-15 minutes

Alternatively, pressure cook in an instant pot for 3 mins for red lentils, 6 mins for moong dal , 10 mins for toor dal.

red lentils being cooked in a pot

cumin seeds being fried in a frying pan

Make the tempering: add butter to a skillet over medium heat.  Once the butter is melted and hot, add the cumin seeds and cook for a minute until the seeds change color and get very fragrant.

Then add in the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon sticks, dried chilis, peppercorns, and fenugreek leaves. Mix well and cook until the chilis change color. Half a minute

cumin seeds being fried in a pan in oil

Indian tadka being prepared in a white sauteeing pan for dal recipe

Add in the Kashmiri chili powder or paprika and ground coriander and cayenne if using then mix well and then immediately add in the chopped tomato and then add the cooked dal immediately as well.

ground spices being added to tempering for dal recipe

tomatoes being added to a pan with tempering

Mix well. Taste and adjust salt and flavor and once the dal comes to a boil, switch off the heat.

Garnish with cilantro and lemon or lime juice and serve over rice or with flatbread.

daal being added to a pan with indian tempering

Which lentils shall I use for daal?

I am using masoor dal/ red lentils for this dal recipe here but you can use any other lentils such as moong dal, toor dal or urad dal. Moong dal will take about 20 mins to cook and toor dal will take 30 mins on stovetop and 6 mins and 10 mins in pressure cooker respectively

a sauteeing pan with red lentil butter dal sprinkled with cilantro

What to serve with this Butter dal

This dal tastes amazing with plain rice,  jeera rice or any type of rice like pulao or even fried rice. You can also serve this dal with different types of roti, naan and parathas.

Storage:

Store cooked dal in the fridge for upto 3 days. If I plan to make ahead, i cook the lentils and store and make the tempering just before serving.

 

About Richa

Hi, I'm Richa! I create flavorful plant based recipes that are inspired by my Indian upbringing, including many gluten-free, soy-free, and oil-free options.

You May Also Like

5 from 18 votes (1 rating without comment)

Leave a comment

If you Love the Recipe, Please consider rating it using stars in comments! It helps readers and helps more people find the recipe online and I love hearing from you all!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

36 Comments

  1. XYZ says:

    5 stars
    This was so yummy. Plus a toddler approved recipe.
    Thank you Richa

  2. Brittany says:

    5 stars
    This was a solid recipe and I made very few adjustments. Basically some extra salt, with double the cumin seeds. But otherwise everything else the same! It turned out so good and it was really easy.

    Thank you!

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      You are so welcome. 🙂

  3. Gwen McMullen says:

    5 stars
    We really enjoyed this. This is going to be a regular dish for us. I’m planning to make more of it to freeze in portions. If I’m doubling the recipe, do I also double all the spices? Thank you ☺️

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      yes, double everything

  4. Stephanie says:

    Unable to eat tomatoes. Any suggestions for a tasty substitution?

    1. Richa says:

      Use roasted red pepper and some lemon juice

  5. Nienke says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! One of the best meals I’ve had in my life.

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      I’m flattered

  6. Anne says:

    5 stars
    This is so delicious!!! Family didn’t want to go out to eat. This looked easy (it was). SO YUMMY!

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      perfect home cooking