Dal Fry (Yellow Dal)

Dal fry is a very tasty North Indian lentil recipe prepared with tuvar dal / split pigeon peas and spices. Any other mixed  lentils also can be used to prepare dal fry. Cooked dal is seasoned with onion, tomato and red chilli powder. It goes very well with jeera rice or any Indian bread.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 to 5 servings


  1. Tuvar dal: 1 cup
  2. Oil: 1 tablespoon
  3. Garlic: 2 to 3 cloves (finely chopped)
  4. Red chilli: 1 broken
  5. Mustard seeds,cumin seeds: 1 teaspoon (for seasoning)
  6. Curry leaves: 4 to 5
  7. Onion: 1 medium sized (finely chopped)
  8. Tomato: 1 medium sized (finely chopped)
  9. Green chilli: 1 to 2 (finely chopped)
  10. Salt: 1 teaspoon (according to taste)
  11. Turmeric: ½ teaspoon
  12. Red chilli powder: ½  teaspoon (according to taste)
  13. Coriander leaves: few leaves (finely chopped)
  14. Asafoetida/ hing: a pinch (optional)
  15. Juice of ½ lemonIMG_5459


  1. Wash tuvar dal in water. Add 2 to 3 cups of water and pressure cook dal till soft. (you can also cook dal in a open pan till soft adding enough water). Switch off the flame and wait for 5 minutes before opening the lid of the cooker.IMG_5470
  2. In the meantime heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds garlic  and red chilli. Let cumin and mustard to crackle. Add curry leaves.IMG_5462
  3. Add finely chopped onion and green chillies and fry till onions are little brown.IMG_5464
  4. Add finely chopped tomato and fry till tomatoes are soft and oil separates.IMG_5472
  5. Add turmeric and red chilli powder and mix.
  6. Add cooked dal, 1/2  cup water, salt and finely chopped coriander leaves and bring to a boil. Mix everything properly. You can add additional 1/2 cup water according to the desired consistency. Adjust the seasoning. Allow to cook on slow flame for 1 or 2 minutes. Switch off the flame. (Reserve some coriander leaves for garnishing).IMG_5474
  7. Transfer dal fry to a serving bowl. Add lemon juice and mix. Garnish with some coriander leaves and serve.
  8. If you want you can prepare some chilli oil and use as a garnishing for dal. Heat ½ teaspoon of oil in a small pan. Add ¼ teaspoon of cumin seeds and allow cumin to crackle.IMG_5477
  9. Switch off the flame and add a pinch of red chilli powder and asafoetida.IMG_5478
  10. Pour this chilli red colored oil over dal fry and serve.IMG_5494


  1. If you want you can skip step number 8, 9 and 10.
  2. You can also prepare mixed dal fry with cooked mixed lentils.

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