Basic Tempering for Dals

READY IN: 1hr 10mins




  • Wash pulses.
  • Soak whole pulses overnight or soak in boiling hot water for 20 mins.
  • Split/unhusked pulses can be soaked in cold water for 30 mins before cooking.
  • Use the same water for cooking in which the pulses have soaked.
  • Add a little salt, turmeric powder and ginger and garlic (if used) I add an onion and tomato too while cooking if I am not using these in the tempering or sometimes even if I am there is no limit to the permutations and combinations once you get the hang of it.
  • Spinach, pumpkin, beans and many more veges can be added while cooking.
  • Also can add a little oil or ghee to speed up the cooking and keep the dals from frothing.
  • Pressure cook for 1 whistle and then reduce heat for 1-7 mins for split beans (red and yellow lentils for eg. cook a little faster than red and yellow gram) and pressure cook and then reduce heat for 30- 45 mins for whole dals.
  • Well cooked and blended dals taste better.
  • Take off heat and wait for all steam to escape.
  • You can cook them on the stove top too- simmer till done.
  • But they cook faster in the Cooker.
  • Method for Tomato Onion Baghar (Temper) (Just omit ingredients for the Cumin Coriander baghar) Now heat the oil/ clarified butter in a small fry pan or vessel.
  • Reduce heat and add cumin seeds.
  • When it turns golden (do not burn them) add onion.
  • Cook till onion turns brown.
  • Do not undercook the onions.
  • Brown them, stirring all the time.
  • Add tomatoes and cook 2-3 minutes Add coriander, raw mango powder (if not avalable then omit and add 2 tsp of lime juice to the dal after tempering and garnishing with coriander leaver (cilantro)), and garam masala.
  • Cook for 1/2 a minute.
  • Remove from fire and add the green chillies and the red chilli powder.
  • Pour tempering over the hot dal and mix gently.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro.
  • Note for Split red lentils you can add chopped garlic while tempering after you add the cumin and then brown them too.
  • THe more garlic the merrier for me but then you can use your discretion.
  • For the Asafoetida Mustard baghar Fry the asafoetida till brown in the hot oil and then add the mustard seeds.
  • Fry till they crackle.
  • Remove from fire and add the red chillies and curry leaves.
  • Mix and add to the cooked dal.
  • Try it and enjoy this item which is a must at every Indian household and the variations that one can introduce.
  • I can make over 50 types of dal (tastewise) and I am still counting.