Indian dal fry recipe, simple dal recipe
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5 from 1 vote

Dal fry recipe - Restaurant Style

Simple dal fry recipe with a rich masala of onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and aromatic spices. Dal fry is one of the most popular Indian lentil curries. Prepared in almost every household, there are as many recipes as there are kitchens in India. This is a simple recipe for the classic dish as it is cooked in restaurants with the goodness of actually being cooked at home.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Vegetarian
Keyword: Lentil curry
Servings: 2
Calories: 185kcal


  • ½ cup pigeon pea lentil (arhar/ toor)
  • Salt , to taste
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder , divided
  • 1 tbsp clarified butter , (ghee) use oil for vegan preparation
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 6-8 curry leaves , fresh or dried
  • 1 green chilli , chopped (optional)
  • ½ inch ginger , chopped
  • 1 clove garlic , chopped
  • 2 onions , chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 2 tomatoes , chopped (about ¾ cup)


  • Wash the lentils (arhar dal) in 3-4 ranges of water. In a pot, cook the dal with 1½ cups water, some salt, and ½ tsp turmeric, until it is soft.* Keep aside.
  • In a separate pan, heat ghee** on medium heat. Add asafoetida and cumin seeds.
  • When the seeds start to crackle, add the dried red chili, cinnamon stick, curry leaves, ginger, garlic, and green chilies. Mix well.
  • Next, add the onions. Mix well and sauté for about 5 minutes till the onions start to brown.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and mix. Add the remaining turmeric and salt. Mix well. Add a little water if the masala is sticking to the pot. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the cooked dal, mix everything together and let the curry simmer for another couple of minutes.
  • For garnish, add fresh coriander leaves and serve with rice.



  • *You can also pressure cook the dal, but it becomes very mushy as arhar doesn’t need long to cook. For dal fry recipe I prefer cooking the lentils in open pot.
  • **In India, dals are mostly cooked in ghee. According to Ayurveda, ghee is very healthy for your body. But if you are vegan, use olive oil or other vegetable oil in place of ghee.


Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 24.8g | Protein: 6.1g | Fat: 7.9g | Saturated Fat: 4.6g | Fiber: 6.2g | Sugar: 7g