No matter how much I crave for other cuisines, my comfort food will always be a hot bowl of dal and rice. Rice and dal is such a hearty and wholesome combination that it can never go out of style. And this dhaba style arhar dal is my absolute favourite. It tastes like those delicious dals that you get in dhabas but requires very less effort. It is a very simple preparation and you only need a handful of Indian pantry essentials to make this. And once you do, you will never stop!
Arhar dal or tool dal (split pigeon peas) is a very common and popular pulse in Indian households. It is made almost every other day and mostly paired with rice or roti. There are several ways you can make toor dal, but this recipe tries to emulate the quintessential dhaba taste. While the dhaba style arhar dal is richer and usually has a tempering of ghee, this dal is entirely vegan and skips on the tempering.
Let’s dive straight into the ingredients and procedure for the recipe.
Preparation time – 30 minutes
Cook time – 30 minutes
Serves – 4 people
- 200 g arhar/toor dal (1 cup approx)
- 900 ml water (for boiling the dal)
- Salt to taste
- 4 g turmeric powder (1 tsp approx)
- 15 ml mustard oil (1 tbsp approx)
- 15 g cumin seeds (1 tbsp approx)
- 2 dried red chillies
- 1/2 tsp asafoetida (hing)
- 200 g finely chopped onions (1 cup approx)
- 15 g ginger-garlic paste (1 tbsp approx)
- 120 g tomatoes, finely chopped
- 4 g cumin powder (1 tsp approx)
- 4 g coriander powder (1 tsp approx)
- 4 g red Kashmiri chilli powder (1 tsp approx)
- 100 ml hot water (for the curry)
- 1/4 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
- Throughly wash the arhar dal. Soak it in water for at least 30 minutes.
- Pressure cook with 900 ml water, salt and turmeric powder for four whistles (or till tender).
- Heat oil in a kadhai or skillet. Let it smoke gently. Reduce the flame and temper with cumin seeds, dried red chillies and hing. Stir for ten seconds.
- Add the finely chopped onions and increase the flame to medium. Stir till the tomatoes start to turn translucent and eventually turn brown. The process will take a few minutes, so be patient.
- Once the onions are brown and cooked, add the fresh ginger-garlic paste. Stir this with the tomatoes till the raw aroma disappears.
- Add the finely chopped tomatoes and cook till they melt and assimilate with the tomatoes.
- Season with cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and salt. Mix well till the tomatoes and spices are well cooked. Add some fresh coriander leaves.
- Add 100 ml hot water.
- Cover and cook the masala on low flame for five minutes.
- Uncover and add the boiled dal. Mix well and let it come to an aggressive boil.
- Boil till you reach your desired consistency.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice, jeera rice or roti.
I hope you try this easy dhaba style arhar dal super soon. If you have any doubts, comments, or feedback, please reach out to me in comments or my social media handles.
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