Tadka dal – one pot lentil soup

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One pot recipes are the best! That’s why you’ll love this Tadka dal (tempered dal) recipe – make it in an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker – and you’ll have your meal ready in no time.

One pot recipes are the best! That's why you'll love this Tadka dal recipe - make it in an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker - and you'll have your meal ready in no time.
Tadka Dal

If you grew up in an Indian household like I did, there is a high probability that you had dal (lentil soup) for at least one of your meals. Every time I would sit down for a meal, I would hope against hope that the meal would comprise of something else – maybe Pav bhaji (yum!) but I would be disappointed every time. Looking at my crestfallen face, my mom would sternly remind me of the kids who didn’t have access to food and I would grudgingly clean the plate.

Fast forward 10 years – I am in the US in a rented apartment wondering what to cook. Considering the fact that I barely knew how to cook, had only a few pulses on hand, making Tadka dal seemed like a no-brainer. My first shot at making tadka dal was a hit and I was amazed at how easy it was to put this together.

I soon realized why Indian moms make dal so often  – it is easy to make, needs only a few ingredients and makes for a nutritious meal – as a soup or as an accompaniment to roti or rice.

What is Tadka dal?

Dal also, popularly known as Indian lentil soup is made using either – Tuvar / Toor (split pigeon peas), Moong (split moong beans), Chana dal (split chickpeas) or Masoor (split red lentil) or sometimes even a combination of these pulses.

Tadka dal, also called yellow dal, is made by cooking dal (tuvar or moong) along with onions, tomatoes, and green chilies in a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot. Once the dal is cooked, it is tempered with oil, cumin/mustard seeds, red chilies, and asafoetida. To make it a one pot dal recipe, start with the tempering and then add the remaining ingredients and cook them. Easy peasy!

You’ll notice there are no masalas in this dal – no coriander or cumin (dhania – jeera) powder or any garam masala, and yet it is so flavorful. You will appreciate the simplicity of this recipe with time just like I did.

One pot recipe for Tadka dal (or lentil soup)
One pot Lentil Soup

How to make yellow dal or Tadka dal

There are various ways to make yellow dal or Tadka dal, but the recipe below is by far the easiest version.I call it my fill it – shut it – forget it dal since I load the cooker or Instant Pot with the ingredients and I am pretty much done with it. No need to saute the onions until they are transparent or fry the tomatoes till they are mushy. Pretty neat, eh?

This recipe has been in our family for some time now – my grandmom used to make dal just like this except that she used tamarind instead of tomatoes. If I want to mix it up a bit, I do the same but for the most part, I stick to tomatoes since they are more easily available.

Note – This is not how restaurant style tadka dal is made. The recipe below is less laborious and is perfect for an everyday meal. If you would like to learn how to make restaurant style tadka dal, I would recommend checking out Richa’s recipe.

If you are not familiar with Instant Pot, here are a few articles that might help
Instant Pot pressure cooker review – Do you really need one?
All you need to know about your Instant Pot 

Other recipes for you to try on your Instant Pot

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Got a new Instant Pot? Check out the links below to make the most of your pressure cooker -  
One pot recipe for Tadka dal (or lentil soup)

Tadka dal - one pot lentil soup

4.88 from 8 votes
One pot recipes are the best! That's why you'll love this Tadka dal (tempered dal) recipe - make it in an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker - and you'll have your meal ready in no time.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Diet : Gluten-free, Vegetarian
Course : Lunch/Dinner
Method: Instant Pot, Stovetop
Cuisine : Indian

Ingredients
 
 

Instructions
 

Stovetop method

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pressure cooker. Add mustard seeds and as they begin to splutter add curry leaves, asafoetida, dried chilies, and garlic.
  • After 10 seconds or so add cut tomatoes, onions, green chilies, turmeric powder, and salt. Fry it for a min. [ Note: It doesn’t need to be fried well like other dishes and a little saute and you are done]
  • Wash the dal well and add it to the cooker and add 2.5 cups of water. Close cooker and wait till the vent goes off 4 times [ Note: Every cooker works differently and mine takes that long to get the dal nicely cooked]
  • Shut the gas off and allow to cool naturally.
  • Open cooker and mix well and then garnish it with coriander leaves.

Instant Pot method

  • Add oil to the steel insert of the Instant Pot and press the Saute function. Press the Adjust button to move the selection to “low” and wait till the display reads “Hot.” Add mustard seeds and as they begin to splutter add curry leaves, dried chilies, asafoetida, and garlic.
  • After 10 seconds or so add cut tomatoes, onions, green chilies, turmeric powder, and salt. Fry it for a min. [ Note: It doesn’t need to be fried well like other dishes and a little saute and you are done]
  • Wash the dal and add it to the steel insert along with 2.5 cups of water. Press “Warm / Cancel” button and then select “Pressure Cook.”  Adjust the time to 15 minutes and set the pressure selection to high. Cover the Instant Pot lid and lock it. Make sure the vent is at sealing position. Allow to naturally release pressure. Return the vent to the venting position, open the Instant pot lid and garnish it with coriander leaves before serving.

Notes

Variation - Alternatively, you can temper the dal after it is cooked.

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Nutrition

Calories: 201kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 9gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 6gSodium: 34mgPotassium: 73mgFiber: 7gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 175IUVitamin C: 9.5mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 1.3mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

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Keyword : restaurant style


 

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi have tried and came out good. thank you.
    I am looking for Biscuits/cookies/cake/muffins (without egg) do share it.

    1. Thanks, Svedala. I haven’t made a ton of eggless recipes but looking forward to doing some baking soon.

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