dhaba style dal fry

Dhaba Style Dal Fry

If you are a fan of dhaba style dal fry, this is the recipe for you. This Dhaba Style Dal Fry recipe will refresh the memories you had at a dhaba on the side of highway during your road trips. This Dhaba Style Dal Fry consists of three types of lentils, making it super healthy and also imparting individual flavours into the curry. This dal goes best with some hot butter roti or paratha or jeera rice and green chilies. It is so flavourful that it can be enjoyed perfectly well as a soup, all by itself. 

dhaba style dal fry

dhaba style dal fry

This dal fry is made with a mix of three lentils – arhar/toor/yellow dal, Masoor dal and moong dal. The earthy and nutty flavours of these dals complement the ghee tempering beautifully. 

Preparation time – 40 minutes

Cook time – 30 minutes

Serves – 4 people


  • ¼ cup arhar/toor/yellow dal
  • ¼ cup moong dal
  • ¼ cup Masoor dal
  • 2.5 cups of water for pressure cooking the pulses
  • 1 tsp salt for the pressure cooker (adjust as per taste if needed)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder for the pressure cooker
  • 3 tbsp oil or ghee
  • ¼ tsp heeng or asafetida 
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds/jeera
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp dry mango powder/amchur powder
  • 1 cup hot water 
  • 1 tbsp kasuri methi / dried fenugreek leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
  • 1 tbsp ghee for garnish (optional) 


  1. In a bowl, add in your three types of pulses – arhar / toor, moong and Masoor dal.
  2. Pour plenty of water in the bowl and rinse the pulses thoroughly by rubbing a handful at a time between your fingers.
  3. Once clean, soak in sufficient water for at least 30 minutes. Soak it overnight to accelerate the process.
  4. Now, drain and transfer the soaked dal in a pressure cooker.
  5. Add water into the pressure cooker.
  6. Season it with some salt and turmeric powder and mix well.
  7. Close the lid with the whistle and set it on heat.
  8. Pressure cook for 4 whistles on medium heat.
  9. In a wide pan, heat some oil / ghee.
  10. Once the oil is hot, add the dried red chilies and the cumin seeds and let it crackle.
  11. Now, add in the finely chopped onions to the pan and fry it, stirring occasionally.
  12. Once the onions are halfway done, i.e. translucent, add in the heeng / asafetida.
  13. Fry the onions till they turn golden.
  14. Add in the freshly ground ginger garlic paste and fry for another few minutes.
  15. Once the raw aroma of the ginger and garlic disappear, and the onions start browning, it is time to add in your finely chopped tomatoes.
  16. Sauté the tomatoes for a few minutes then start adding the dry spices – coriander powder, cumin powder, Kashmiri red chili powder and dry mango / amchur powder.
  17. Fry the masalas for a few minutes to cook them properly.
  18. Now, add in the hot water to the pan. The hot water will help homogenize the mixture.
  19. Add in the kasuri methi or dry fenugreek leaves and mix really well.
  20. Cover the tempering and cook on low flame for 8 minutes.
  21. After 8 minutes, most of the water is evaporated and the tomatoes have become mushy, just like we want them.
  22. Give it a good stir then season with salt according to taste.
  23. Now, add the pressure cooked dal to the pan and mix it very well till it is well combined with the tempering.
  24. Add hot water to adjust the consistency as per your preference.
  25. Cook the dal for a few minutes.
  26. Finish it off with a generous handful of coriander leaves and a tbsp. of ghee. You can also add in a pinch of garam masala in order to round up the flavours, but I didn’t feel the need to. 

dhaba style dal fry

dhaba style dal fry

And there, you have the healthier, yummier version of your favourite Dhaba style dal fry. Serve it hot with some parathas, sliced onions and a squirt of lemon juice and you are set. This is a MUST try recipe for everyone as it can very easily be inculcated in every day cooking. You will love it!

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