Annika Eats

Dal Tadka Dhaba Style

My go to yellow dal tadka recipe that is authentic to every dhaba in India. It is a quick and easy  delicious vegetarian dish served with rice or roti at home. 

Let us clear up a couple of things before we start cooking. A “Dhaba” is a roadside food stall/restaurant usually found on highways in India. Serving traditional local cuisine, most often than not through out the day and night as well. Now, Dal Tadka is a traditional vegetarian Indian lentil dish that is served with rice or roti. It can be had for lunch or dinner. To make dal tadka, the recipe calls for toor dal or masoor dal. While the tadka includes whole and powdered spices with chillies in ghee. The dal is garnished with fresh coriander as well. 

Tips on cooking lentils such as Dal

When cooking lentils always by soaking your lentils in water for an hour (minimum). We start the boiling process in room temperature water with salt. The ratio for dal to water is 1: 3 you can always add more water if needed during the boiling process. This ensures the dal is completely cooked through and soft. There is no specific time to cook lentils, this varies on the type of pot used to cook the dal as well as the kind of lentils used. 

What ingredients do we need to make the Dal Tadka Dhaba Style?

To make the dal tadka we need toor dal (arhar dal). I used cumin seeds, green & red chili, garlic, ginger and onion. As for spice powders I used chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and some hing. All these ingredients are tempered in ghee and seasoned with salt. I smoked the dal with coal and ghee. But it is an optional step. I like serving this with jeera chawal (cumin rice), roasted papad and fresh coriander. 

What equipment do you need to make this Dal Tadka Dhaba Style?

We need a stock pot to boil the dal. A sauté pan to make the tadka. I like roasting the papad over the fire directly but you could fry it or make it in the microwave.

The recipe is simple and straightforward and doesn’t have any substitutes. I like serving this dal with rice or roti but you could serve it with bread as well. As for sides, we usually serve it with some lime pickle and vinegar onions. You can make a kachumber salad.

Once the dal is cooked it can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for upto 3 days. Now that we have covered how to make this recipe, let us get cooking. Happy Eating Ninjas!

Dal Tadka Dhaba Style

My go to yellow dal tadka recipe that is authentic to every dhaba in India. It is a quick and easy delicious vegetarian dish served with rice or roti at home.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


  • Stock pot
  • Sauté pan
  • Stirring spoon


  • 3/4 cup Toor Dal
  • 2 1/2 cups Water
  • 1/2 tsp Salt


  • 2 tbsp Ghee
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 3-4 Red chilis
  • 2 tbsp Garlic chopped
  • 1 tbsp Ginger chopped
  • 1 Green chili chopped
  • 1 medium Onion chopped
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp Hing
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste

To smoke:

  • 1 piece coal
  • 2 tbsp ghee


  • Fresh coriander


  • Jeera rice
  • Roasted papad


  • Start by soaking the dal in water for an hour. After soaking strain out the dal and add fresh water into a stock pot, add the dal and salt. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Allow it to simmer and cook until soft. Should take 20-25 mins. Add more water if needed. While this is cooking prep all the ingredients for the tadka.
  • Once the dal is softened and cooked, the water should be absorbed. If the liquid is too much you can strain it out or else leave it in. At this stage you can blend the dal or leave it chunky. I like it chunky.
  • In a sauté pan add the ghee and oil, cumin seeds, green chili, ginger, garlic, red chili. Let this cook on low heat until browned. Add the spice powders, hing and cook for a minute. Pour most of the tadka over the cooked dal and stir together, season once more.
  • Serve in a bowl with the remaining tadka on top, fresh coriander and some rice on the side. You can also roast papad.


  • Let the lentils cook until completely softened before you start making the tadka mixture.
  • You can blend the dal before you add the tadka mixture into the stock pot for a smooth dal texture.
  • If you want the dal thicker leave it as it is however if you would like it thinner add more water to the dal before adding the tadka.


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