One of my favourite recipes in the world is Tadka Daal. It is simplicity at its best! Not only does it taste delicious, it also really warms you up in winter. I serve this daal with rice or roti. For sides, I make Crispy Okra and Crispy Aubergine. 

tadka daal in a small wok with chilli and fries garlic on top

OK, i can’t even focus because my husbands ten billion, really loud alarms are going off. He can’t hear them which drives me bonkers.

So, I was supposed to post this recipe last week but it turned into quite a hectic week. After Wednesday, my week pretty much just melted into chaos. I don’t do well with little sleep and sleep is exactly what I was lacking last week. Also my parents visited on the weekend. It was so nice to see them. It feels like home to have them round.I am not sure if i am making sense because I am home but them being here, is like having my roots with me. This weekend, I have more family coming over to stay. YAY!

Also last week, I got some really lovely messages from some of our readers. I cannot emphasise enough how much I love hearing from readers. Even with website stats in front of my eyes, I always get this nagging feeling that no one is coming to the site and I am just writing to air. Hi air. 

Last week, I also fell off the wagon big time. We have been eating well over the last 3 weeks, since I finished stage one of my course. The course is mainly about healing ourselves and feeling better overall. There are several layers to that. Food being a major one. I felt awful by Sunday and vowed to only allow myself to slip up once a week rather then get carried away and wreck our food diaries for half a week. (I have to keep one for my course).

tadka daal in a small wok with chilli and fries garlic on top

I love that this dish looks like it has ears. Clearly I need get out more because it actually makes me laugh when i lift it by it’s ears. I be walking over to the dinner area, laughing away and my husband just looks at me like i have lost my marbles.


This is when I made it without the flavoured oil on top. #SheDrools.

Gosh I might just make daal today now, all these pictures are making me really hungry. 

Tadka Daal



  • 1 cup Toor Daal
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp oil


  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 small onions diced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 green chillies slit lengthways Not all the way through
  • 1/2 inch ginger crushed
  • 2 to matoes diced
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi/dried fenugreek optional
  • Dagar na pool -A few pieces Optional and available at indian supermarkets
  • Mace - 1 piece Optional
  • 1 pinch garam masala powder
  • Salt

Smokey Effect (optional)

  • Small piece of coal


  • 2 tbsp Ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 cloves garlic sliced very finely
  • 2 dried red chillies



  1. Soak the daal for one hour before you begin, then rinse, drain and put on the hob with the water and oil. Bring to the boil and then simmer for up to an hour. You will need to check it often and keep topping with boiling water. I would check it every 15 minutes.


  1. In a medium sized non stick pot, add the oil, ghee and onions. Stir, then add the garlic, ginger and green chillies.
  2. Saute until the onions are golden brown (Around 10 minutes).
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook over high heat for 2 - 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, dried fenugreek, garam masala powder and salt.
  5. Cook for 5 minutes over a low heat and add the daal in. If the daal is too thick, add half a cup of water. If it isn't smooth enough yet, blend using a stick blender. Turn the heat right down.

Smokey Effect

  1. (Do not use your hands for any part of this method!)
  2. Use tongs to hold a piece of coal over a high flame until it is red. This shouldn't take long. Around 30 seconds - 1 minute.
  3. Create a small bowl shape from aluminium foil. It needs to be sturdy. If you have a small steel bowl, use that instead.
  4. Very quickly add the coal to the foil/bowl and add the bowl directly on top of the daal using the tongs. Cover the daal with a tight fitting lid and allow the coal to infuse the daal for 1 - 2 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid and the bowl using tongs.


  1. In a small pan over high heat, add the ghee and cumin seeds. Heat for around 30 seconds.
  2. As soon as they begin to pop add the garlic and chillies and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 1 minute.
  3. Pour the oil over the daal.
  4. Serve hot with roti or rice.

Recipe Notes

The dagar na pool really makes the daal taste delicious. Try and get hold it if you can! (I am bharuchi - part of india and this is our magic ingredient)

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