Toor Dal




For 2 people

  • 3/4 cup toor dal or split pigeon peas

  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1 tbsp oil or ghee

  • 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds

  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1 pinch hing

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • pinch of sugar

  • 1 tsp lime/lemon juice


  • 1 Thai chili pepper diced into thin, round slices

  • Cilantro for garnish


  • Whisk

  • Knife

  • (OPTIONAL) Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot


  • 1 Thick bottomed pan


Wash Dal

  • Take a thick bottomed pot and pour 3/4 cup toor dal into it.

  • Wash it well several times till the drained water runs clear

  • Ideally, let it soak for 15 minutes

Boil Dal

  • If using Instant Pot - Add 2.5 cups water to the washed dal and pressure cook on high - set to 20 minutes

  • If using thick-bottomed pot - Add 2.5 cups water to the washed dal and place it on medium heat, Keep an eye on it and cook for about 30-40 min till the dal becomes soft & mushy.

  • Whisk the dal. You should not be able to see individual dal after whisking.

  • Add 1 cup water to the cooked dal, follow with turmeric & mix well. The consistency of the dal should be thicker than that of a broth.

  • Set aside.

Prep Tadka (Tempering)

  • If using thai chili pepper dice into thin, round slices

  • Empty out the dal if you are using the same pot you used to boil the dal for the final step of putting the dish together. Rinse this pot and wipe it with a clean kitchen towel. Heat 1 tbsp ghee or oil in it at medium heat.

  • After a minute, add one mustard seed. If the seeds starts sizzling as soon as it hits the oil/ghee, the temperature of the oil/ghee is right for the rest of theseeds. If not, wait for another minute or so. Repeat with a single mustard seed.

  • Follow with the rest of 1/4 tsp mustard seeds & 1/4 tsp cumin seeds. Seeds will start popping, so be careful.

  • Once the seeds stop popping, add hing & thai chile pepper.

  • Turn the heat off after peppers change color to charred, pale green.

The Final Ta-da

Add dal to the tadka

  • Pour the whisked dal into the tadka and turn the heat to medium now

  • Combine 1/2 tsp salt, pinch of sugar and 1tsp lime juice into the dal.

  • Let dal come to a rolling boil

  • Garnish with cilantro

The absolute best way to eat dal is to mix it with white rice. Top with a generous swirl of ghee and serve hot.