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Toor Dal

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Indian recipes use several different dals (lentils) native to India. Toor dal, also known as arhar, is a popular dish in almost every household.

Below I describe two variations, one with added vegetables and the other with seasoning only.

Serves 2 to 4.

Toor Dal Recipe by ManjulaIngredients:

  • 1 cup toor dal
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (haldi)
  • 1 tablespoon fine chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon mango powder (amchoor)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

Variation 1: With Vegetable Chaunk/Seasoning 

  • 2 tablespoons clear butter (ghee)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed (jeera)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed (rai)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (lal mirch)
  • 2 bay leaves (tajpat)
  • Pinch of asafetida (hing)
  • 1 tomato medium chopped
  • 1 small zucchini chopped into 1 inch long cubes
  • 6 string beans chopped about 1 inch long

Variation 2: Chaunk/Seasoning 

  • 2 tablespoons clear butter (ghee)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed (jeera)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed (rai)
  • 2 bay leaves (tajpat)
  • Pinch of asafetida (hing)
  • 4 whole red chili (sabut lal mirch)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Method

  1. Wash dal, changing water several times until the water appears clear.
  2. Soak dal in 4 cups of water for 30 minutes or longer.
  3. In pressure cooker add dal, water, salt, turmeric, and ginger. Cook over medium high heat.
  4. When the pressure cooker starts to steam, lower the heat to medium and cook seven minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat and wait until steam has stopped before opening.
  6. Mix the dal well. If the dal is thick, add more boiling water to desired thickness.
  7. Mix the mango powder and garam masala with a few spoons of water and add the mixture to the dal.

Variation 1: Vegetable Chaunk/Seasoning 

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the oil; if it cracks right away, the oil is ready. Add hing, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds.
  2. After the seeds crack, add bay leaves and chili powder. Stir for a few seconds.
  3. Add the vegetables. Stir and cook four to five minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Combine the vegetables and the dal and mix gently.

Variation 2: Chaunk/Seasoning 

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the oil; if it cracks right away, the oil is ready. Add hing, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds. After the seeds crack, stir for a few seconds.
  2. Add bay leaves, whole red chilies, and paprika. Stir for a second, adding one tablespoon of water to prevent burning.
  3. Pour in spice mix over dal.

Serve with steamed rice or any Indian bread.


90 thoughts on “Toor Dal

  1. I tried this last night and it is delicious! I love Indian food and always wanted to learn. You make it so easy to follow! I you could, please do a recipe for plain restaurant style Indian Rice (with cumin seeds and such). If you make it, I know it will be so good!

  2. Last time i watched a recipe for gobi adraki…i am not able to find it now…can you please where can i watch it.Thanks.

  3. Many Many thanks to you Manjulaji for your really helpful cooking videos.It is really a kind of guide map for a bachelor & novice cook like me.
    Keep up the good work.God bless you !

  4. Thank you so so so much. Being in china theres a big problem with indian food but by your help I can cook whatever I want ,whenever I want. Thanks for sharing your recipes with us. God bless you.

  5. A BIG THANK YOU auntie ji.. being a bachelor and living in south india, i missed northie food and your videos have helped me cook whenever i want and whatever i want.. no need to call mother every now and then now :-) ..

  6. I made your Toor Dal yesterday and it was fantastic!! My husband says he doesn’t like lentils but he ate 4 helpings of it. We love Indian cuisine and live in a place where we can’t easily get it, so I’ve decided to start cooking it myself. Thank you for such a wonderful website. Oh, I also made your palak paneer (I made the paneer) and the aloo mutter. They were all excellent.

  7. Thanks aunt for the recipe…It is a treat to watch you cook….Rather than just giving recipes online I really liked watching you cook. I have made dal and just about to relish it now. Thanks again.

  8. Manjula, I am really touched by your enthusiasm and love for cooking. I am so grateful that you are sharing your great recipes. I made the dal with Ghee tadka for lunch. It was so delicious and satisfying. I am going to be making the one with vegetable chaunk for dinner. Thank you once again. Lots of love from Canada.

  9. Thanks For recipes.Its always make my mouth wet.
    I really enjoy ur recipes.My sis always visit ur site for new-2 dishes.our family love to have ur recipe’s food so often.
    Thanks again for giving the taste of indian food.

  10. Thank you so much for all your recipes. I’m on your site all the time and I’ve learned so much from you. I’ve told my friends and family about your web page, and they’re all learning from you, too. Thank you for this cool project. It’s really helping people become better cooks. Thanks!

  11. I just tried the Chick peas with spinach dish. Came out great. Thank you Manjula Ji for your detailed presentation on video. I am a recently divorced man and my 15 year old son has just moved in with me, so I was looking for some way to cook different dishes for him and your website is a God send. I will definitely try out other dishes as well.

    All the best and keep the recipes coming.

  12. Oh my! Everything I make from your recipes turns out wonderfully!
    I use canola oil instead of ghee and I finish off almost everything with fresh lime and cilantro. I had to have two helpings tonight!

    1. Olive oil is fine, but canola is better (of all the vegetable oils it has the least amount of saturated fat).

      Olive oil gets very hot very quickly, whereas canola or any of the vegetable oils are more heat tolerant. For doing the “chaunk” they work better because you can get them hot enough to sizzle to the seeds, but the oil won’t start smoking.

      If you only want to use olive oil, you can. You just have to know it will get hot fast.

  13. It’s great to watch a master at work !
    When I have dal from an Indian takeaway, it is very, very thin, very spicy and seems to have no lentils in it whatsoever. How can they call it a dal when there are no lentils in it ..? Do you think they whizz it all up in a food processer then water it down ? Would that explain why I can’t see any lentils in it ?

  14. Hi Manjula Aunty ,

    I am very new to cooking and I find your way of cooking extremely interesting and good .I will try to learn more and more from your website .Thanks a lot for sharing the cooking methods with everyone .God bless you and your family

  15. Aunty, your recipes are too good. I have tried so many of them. Will try your aloo baingan tomorrow. Thanks so much.

  16. Aunty,
    Your food is so delicious. I am 3 months pregnant and going crazy with the food cravings your website gives me such relief I tried making aloo parathas like you have taught in your videos they came out well. can you tell me the recipe for oodhiyo (the sabzee you make during uttarayan)

    lots of love
    Noopur

  17. Hi,

    Can you please make all these recipes available in a single combined document pdf, so that i can run it off on my printer and have it for my kitchen:)

    Many thanks

  18. dear Auntygee..thank you so much for yjis recipe. My husband loves dal and i am not making it the right way. I will try your method as soon as I can. many thanks! motixxoo

    1. Aisha, dal can be cooked without a pressure cooker it just takes longer. Soak the dal overnight if possible and then put it in a pan with water. Cook on medium heat with the lid partially covering. You must check it often because it can boil over if the heat is too much. Allow about 30 to 45 minutes to cook it this way.

      1. Aisha, I feel compelled to warn you against too much turmeric or salt when cooking this dish on the stovetop! The lentils absorb a good deal of water, but a good deal is evaporated as well, concentrating some of the spices. It can be unpleasant. This is a wonderful recipe if you follow it as written, but beware if you deviate!

  19. Dear Aunty \,

    i made chana masala , dal makhani, rajma, veg cutlet, pakoras, mathi, aloo gobi, kadhai paneer, aloo & eggplant and my husband just loved it….

    THANKS A TON

  20. Aunty,
    I love your website. It is a life saver. Can you give me the recipe for a typical Gujurati dal and Kadhi. Thank you.

  21. Thanks Aunti,

    My wife is in India, This is first time in my life i prepared daal using your method. It looks fine for me.

    Thanks
    Amit

  22. Hi Manjula Aunty,
    I am going to make roti dal(vegetable chaunk version) now but I don’t have zuccini and beans. What other vegetables can we add. Can we add carrots and potatoes. Please reply.Thanks

  23. hello aunty
    ur site is really helpful.i got married and came here in sept from then i was exploring many web’s but i foud out urs is the best….i love ur spinach-monng dal and dal makhani a lot.waiting for more authentic dishes.

  24. Hi mam the reciepes are really very good and the videos u provide for the reciepes are really helpful for me as my both sons have a very good taste for food so i have to really try new dishes all the time and ur site is very helpful for me THANKYOU.

  25. Another easy way:
    1. microwave beans.
    2. cook dal in pressure cooker with just salt added.
    3. fry onion and tomato and then add microwaved beans.( in oil)
    4. add cooked dal ( remove water if needed).
    5. boil for sometime; add garam masala and red chilli powder as needed.
    6. add one tablespoon of ghee in the end( advanatge: less ghee, but with good flavour of ghee)

  26. Hi aunty !
    i have just tried this recipe and it turned out great, thanks to your clear instructioni feel confident in the kitchen .
    god bless your great service !

  27. Hello,

    unknown???
    yes, because it is indian dish? And common indian ingredients where is no name in engslish, because no use of that ingredients in U.S.
    So…what to do…???
    Look out for an asia or india store…and they will understand u…(what a good feeling)
    …buy the toor dal and the spices…go home…and join cooking the traditional indian dishes…..yum yum yum ~~~~~~~~~~~~

  28. Toor dal are also called “pidgeon peas”. They are a yellow dried lentil that has been split in half. They are about the same size as a green pea, but flatter in thickness.

    Indian grocery stores or natural/health food stores are usually the only places you can purchase these in the US. Large grocery stores may have them in their ethnic food aisle.

    Which other ingredients are you having trouble with?

    Jaya

  29. what is “toor dal”, would it be possible to put the ingredients in English? or at least a good description of what is it?

    The side is great but its kind of hard to follow the recipes as the ingredients are unknown in the USA.

    1. ‘Google’ any ingredients you don’t know. This is how I have learnt over the years to cook Indian vegetarian food, and I have only ever lived in Australia & New Zealand.

  30. wow….finally the recipe for this dal….my friend from work and family are gujarati. The mom would make me this dal and yes it was super spicy but so very good. I tried to ask her for the recipe but of course her English wasn’t that well plus we lived on opposites sides of town so i couldn’t watch. Now because of you Manjula I can learn. Thank you so much! I think I was Indian in a past life or something!

  31. You can cook this without a pressure cooker, it will just take more time. Cook it on medium-low heat with a lid on. Check it periodically to make sure it doesn’t cook dry. You may need to add some water towards the end of cooking if it becomes thick.

    If the dal has been pre-soaked for about 4 hours, the cooking will take about 30 to 45 minutes without a pressure cooker.

  32. Dear Manjula:

    Your dal recipes all seem to require a pressure cooker. Howw do we cook it if we don;t have one? Is there a slow cook way?

    Thanks.

  33. Hi Annette,
    Toor dal is sold as dry or oily. You will probably never find a recipe that will specify one over the other because it doesn’t matter. I personally buy the dry version.

    Oily dal can sometimes be of lesser quality than dry. I would suggest you discard the oily dal if it’s been so many years since you bought it. Another reason the oily dal recipe didn’t taste good could be that the dal itself was not of good quality. I’m just guessing, but it’s possible.

    Jaya :)

  34. I made the veggie chaunk version, and it wasn’t just very tasty, but also smelled lovely–very aromatic. Thanks for another great recipe!
    By the way, although I used dry toor dal for this, I’ve always wondered whether it’s worthwhile to look for a good recipe for *oily* toor dal? Years ago, I bought it and made a recipe with it, but it came out pretty badly… If there’s something great that can be done with it, I’d be curious to know.

  35. Hi Manjuala aunty,

    i am enjoying your recipies very much. I made almost all of them. I am from Punjab, India and i am a vegetarian. Please bring more vegetarian recipies. Thank you so much and keep up the good work!

  36. Thank you Manjula for a great venue for vegetarian food. Being a vegetarian all my life I am always looking for different recipes. I even have my children cooking following your you tube lessons. Bravo, well done. Could you kindly put nutrtional information for each recipe?
    Sincerely
    Chandar

  37. I recently moved and back home I ate out at least once a week at my favorite resturant Nepal, which served Indian food, I was so miserable until I found out my new neighbor just happened to be Indian and made me dinner the first night we moved in what luck! But I realized I need to learn how to cook my favorite indian dishes, as a vegeterian Indian food is perfect for me I should have been born Indian!, thanks for your recipes they are really helping me!

  38. Hello Jame, Paprika is just to give more color so you dont need to use, mango powder can be replaced with lemon juice and bay leave you can do without but I dont know any sustitue for it.

  39. Madam, instead of Paprika, Bay Leaves & Mango Powder, what are the other alternatives that we can use to make the toor dal. Pls reply with your experienced comments.

  40. This is indeed a wonderful website. I stumbled upon it looking for a simple Dal recipe, and couldn’t resist to try out a few of the others, too. I love the videos. You make veg Indian cuisine accessible to all, Manjula. Keep up the great work!

  41. hello Manjula,
    I have been a fan for many months now. I am in love with your cooking and teaching style. I am slowly adding Jain cooking techniques to my repitoire of cooking. I especially am using seasonings and ghee/oil technique to my Caribbean style of curries. My one question today is what is the brand name of your cookware? The pans have a shape that I need but have not yet found, especially for stir frying. Please respond. Thank you.
    Karen

  42. hi manjula ji
    you put pressure cooker with dal on medium high heat.then u say let it start steaming n then turn the heat down. ’start steaming’ means what?
    we should wait for one whistle and then turn the heat down
    thanx for your reply

  43. hi manjula ji
    you put pressure cooker with dal on medium high heat.then u say let it start steaming n then turn the heat down. ‘start steaming’ means what?
    we should wait for one whistle and then turn the heat down
    thanx for your reply

  44. Hello Manjula!

    Your recipes are fantastic! My husband and I love your samosas and potato curry especially. Could you please show us how to make tarka daal?

    Thank you so much!

  45. Hello Manjula g,

    I check your web site regularly and all your recipes are good, keep up the good work. I tried ur recipe for veg -cut let and bendi fry they tasted very good.

    Thanks again for sharing all your years of experience in the kitchen with us.

  46. Audrey,

    As Manjula says you’ve got an internet problem: your connection is slow. Maybe you can download the video to your pc and watch it offline.

  47. I am so happy to learn of this site, but when I tried to view the video it stopped every 20 seconds. During that time (about 20 more seconds) there was a small circle of grey dots that kept moving. Is there any way you can fix this? Thanks.

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