It is easy to see why this yellow dal recipe was one of the first ones I learned:
– It is a homestyle toor dal recipe, so something you would find in most Indian kitchens
– It is easy to make in only three steps
– It is healthy as the main ingredients are lentils, onion, and tomatoes and there are little fats added
– It is the best dal recipe you’ll try: tasty and versatile!
Cooking with lentils was very new to me when I met Jay and I have to admit, like for all new things I was terrified I would not be able to cook it and I was so right! I would put too much water in the pressure cooker, then too little, I would soak the lentils too much, then add too much turmeric and not enough chili powder… no matter what I tried, it was or too much or too little.
Indian cooking was completely new to me and the fascination for Indian spices often meant I was almost playing around with them a bit too much but eventually (yes, it took time!) I learned to appreciate these spices and their flavors, learning how to pair them and balancing their amounts and that is how I started putting together a list of easy recipes I knew I could cook well, like my Garlic and Chili Chicken Curry or my Green Peas Curry Kerala Style.
This homestyle dal – or Ghar Ki Dal (which I took forever to learn how to spell!) – is easy to prepare as most of the ingredients are cooked in the pressure cooker, then flavored with some lemon juice, and finally topped with a delicious tadka… all in about 30 minutes!
Let’s talk nutrition!
Toor dal, which is known as Pigeon Pea in English, is a very rich legume that is versatile and nutritious.
Although like most legumes, it is not low in calories nor carbohydrates, toor dal is a great source of proteins, fiber, and Vitamin B-9 (folic acid).
Toor dal comes on the lower side of the glycemic index (GI), making it suitable for most diabetic meal plans (although a doctor should always be consulted when diabetes is involved).
This legume, being rich in fiber and protein, keeps one feeling full for longer, making it a great choice when trying to lose weight; in addition to this, toor dal may also assist with reducing cholesterol levels.
The other nutrients and vitamins present are Vitamin B complex, Vitamins C, E, and K, as well as magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, potassium, zinc, and sodium.
Toor dal is also rich in iron, which makes it a very great addition to vegan diets, as this is normally found in dairy products, meat, liver, and eggs; as well as iron, these lentils are a great source of folate, which is often found in liver, leafy greens, beans, peanuts, and fruits to name a few.
Iron and folate are both essential nutrients for the body, with the first one important for the blood, and the seconds one promoting the development of the brain as well as fetal growth.
Some of the B-Vitamins present in toor dal, such as B-2 (riboflavin) and B-3 (niacin), are known for boosting energy levels as they work towards stimulating the metabolism of carbohydrates.
Unfortunately, while being extremely healthy, lentils have a bad reputation, but they are not the only food: 10 Foods that are super-healthy and weight-loss friendly, but have a bad reputation – ‘bad’ foods that are good for you
~~ Looking for more toor dal recipes inspiration? You must try Sambar, a South Indian lentil soup with vegetables and a hint (or more than that if you prefer) of spices!
What is toor dal?
Toor dal is a perennial legume which in English is known as pigeon pea.
How many calories in toor dal?
Toor dal contains 343 calories per 100g of raw dry lentils.
How to cook dal? How to cook Ghar Ki Dal?
This easy and healthy dal recipe is almost unbelievable!
Start by rinsing the toor dal before pressure cooking it for 20 minutes since it starts boiling with water, onions, tomato, ginger, garlic, green chilies, cumin seeds, and turmeric. Once these ingredients are cooked and the lentils are mushy (you need to find the right balance of water and lentils to cook them in 20 minutes only… see the list of ingredients below for details), wait for the pressure cooker to be ready to be opened before adding some lemon juice and more water to bring it to the desired consistency.
As a final step, prepare a tadka of sunflower oil, mustard seeds, more cumin seeds and garlic, dry red chilies, curry leaves, hing (asafoetida), and put it on top of the dal while it is nice and hot.
As an optional, this delicious dal can be topped with a little bit of ghee (if one is not vegan) and some freshly chopped coriander… then mix and serve!
Start the dal recipe
Prepare the tadka
Final steps for the Ghar Ki Dal Recipe
Ghar Ki Dal | How to make Ghar Ki Dal | Homestyle Easy Lentil Dal (dhal, dahl)
How can I make my dal more liquid or thick?
This recipe allows for total control over the consistency of the dal; after pressure cooking the lentils in the minimum amount of water required, you will find yourself with a thick dal, meaning that you can add as much or as little water as you want before continuing to the next step.
What can I serve this dal recipe with?
This homestyle dal is a very versatile recipe as it is a great main dish as well as a very tasty side.
Serve this toor dal with some simple pulao or boiled rice for an easy meal, or prepare some tandoori chicken or fish fry and serve it as a side with some chapattis or parathas… it works well with most dishes!
How can I make this curry more or less spicy?
This recipe uses fresh green chilies when cooking the dal and dry red chilies in the tadka, so if you wish to amend the spice level you can increase or reduce either of them. If you are looking for an even spicier kick, add a little red chili powder to the pressure cooker before cooking the lentils.
How many calories in lentil dal?
Each portion of this Ghar Ki Dal has only 136 calories, while being extremely filling. This lentil dal recipe does not use unnecessary oil and the calories mentioned include the optional ghee, so it all balances out: calories and flavor!
~~ Planning a glorious fakeaway night at home? Serve this dal with some delicious Butter Chicken… better than the restaurant!
You will love this recipe as it is great for lunch or dinner, at home, or as part of a lunch box and it can be served with anything on the side or as the main dish… it won’t disappoint!
The amount of oil used in this recipe keeps the fats and calories as low as possible while using the filling power of lentils to their maximum… this is a great dish whether you are or not counting calories, so a crowd pleaser!
Top the whole pot with a tablespoon of ghee if you have a few spare calories for the extra kick and you are not following a vegan diet and do not forget that tablespoon of lemon juice after cooking the lentils… that is a game-changer!
~~ Would love to try more vegan recipes? Start with this Easy-Peasy Potato Curry Recipe with Coconut… rich, tasty, and quick to make!
Homestyle Easy Lentil Dal (dhal, dahl) | Ghar Ki Dal
For the dal base:
- ¾ Cup Toor Dal Rinsed
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 Tomato Roughly Chopped
- 1 Onion Roughly Chopped
- 1 tsp Ginger Thinly Chopped
- 1 tsp Garlic Thinly Chopped
- 3 Green Chilies Slit on the side
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- 2 Cups Water Room Temperature
For the Tadka
- 1 Tbsp Sunflower Oil or any flavorless vegetable oil
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 Garlic Cloves Roughly Chopped
- ½ tsp Hing Asafoetida
- 2 Dry Red Chilies
- 10-15 Curry Leaves
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 Tbsp Ghee or Clarified Butter optional
- 10 g Freshly Chopped Coriander optional, to garnish
Prepare the dal base
- To prepare the base of the homestyle dal, add the rinsed lentils, salt, chopped onion and tomato, ginger and garlic, green chilies, cumin seeds, turmeric, and water to the pressure cooker, mix well and put to cook on a high flame; once the ingredients are boiling and the pressure cooker starts steaming, reduce the heat to medium and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes (it depends on the heat produced by the medium flame and how tight is the pressure cooker). Ensure you do not overcook the lentils as to cook it this quickly this recipe adds just enough water for the amount of lentils and overcooking them may mean them sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Once the lentils and all the other ingredients are cooked, remove the pressure cooker from the heat and allow it to depressurize; once the pressure cooker is ready, open it and mix the lentils before adding the amount of water needed to achieve the consistency desired and put the pan back on the heat.
- Once the dal is lightly simmering again, add the lemon juice and mix well then remove from the heat again.
For the final step, prepare the tadka
- To prepare the tadka, heat the sunflower oil and once this is warm add the mustard seeds and after 10-15 seconds the cumin seeds; after another 10 seconds, add the roughly chopped garlic and allow it to cook until golden and until the smell of rawness has gone.
- At this stage add the hing, mix well and finish off with the dry red chilies, which you will break in two before adding, and the curry leaves; after the curry leaves and red chilies have been in the oil for about 10 seconds (do not overcook them, they will burn quickly!) add the tadka on top of the dal while it is still warm and mix well!
- To give an extra layer of flavor, after the above steps have been completed, the homestyle dal can be finished with one tablespoon of ghee and some freshly chopped coriander.
- Mix, serve, and enjoy!