Saturday, January 19, 2019

Smoked Dhaba Dal Fry (Lentil Curry with smoky ghee flavor)

One of the resolutions this year is to blog more recipes, everyday deliciousness. Thanks to one of my friend/neighbor who asked me what do Indian families eat every day ? Especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan, what's the homemade vegetarian version of chicken-tikka? That was an hour well spent explaining to him the nuances of Indian everyday dishes. With all the explanation, I still did not do justice to Indian cuisine, it is that versatile. That led to my resolution to blog everyday recipes in the kitchen.

Here is my quick everyday daal. You can do a mix and match of different combos of daal, the basic spices remaining same. The smoky ghee flavor is the highlight and this is a great dish for winter. Good amount of protein had to say that for my meat-eating friends, who think vegetarians and vegans are falling off like toothpicks, due to lack of nutrition. Hardly! I'm not getting into the debate of meat vs plant-based food, to each their own. Just be happy, whatever you eat. It is good to stay in your own business and not judge either way.

I cooked this for my best friend, we tend to get together for lunch or coffee at least every other week. It was cold and we were in the mood for a eat in, she loved it. I packed the leftovers for her and ended up making it again the next day. My teen, who actually hates dal, loves this version. On another note, my teen is nineteen, OMG people... remember the time I would blog about her..." almost teen" We need to find a new name for her, even though I am tempted to find a new name, I think I will just call her Aish ( that is what we call her at home).

On a serious note, a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped me raise money for the BCRF (Breast Cancer Research Foundation) - we raized $500. Thank you so much.


  • 1 cup toor dal/pigeon pea 
  • 1/2 cup chana dal/ split pea
  • 1 cup masoor dal/ red lentil ( with skin)
  • 1-2 clove of garlic
  • 1 split green chili
  • 4-5 tbsp ghee - recipe here
  • 1 tsp cumin seed 
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • a pinch of clove powder
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 tomato finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • cilantro to garnish
  • a few curry leaves 
  • sale to taste 


  • Mix the dal, soak for about 2 hours (if you are not using red lentil with skin, you can skip this step)
  • Cook either in a pressure cooker, instant cooker or gas top. It should mash between the index finger and thumb. 
  • Take a kadai/ wok/saucepan/earthenware pot, add 2 tbsp ghee now add cumin and let it roast, now add red chili, turmeric powder followed by curry leaf, green chili, onion and garlic, roast till golden brown. 
  • Add salt
  • Add tomatoes and roast for a min or two and add 1/4 cup water, let the tomatoes cook. 
  • Add the cooked dal. 
  • Add additional salt if needed, juice of a lime.  
  • Take 2 small pieces of charcoal and hold it with a tong and heat it on the gas stove. 
  • Place the hot charcoal in a cup and keep that cup in the cooked dal. 
  • Add 1 tbsp of ghee and clove powder on the hot charcoal, it will begin to smoke. shut the lid immediately. 
  • let the dal take in the smoky ghee flavor (12-15 min)
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve. 
Optional: Tadka before serving. Heat ghee, add some cumin, red chili powder and pour it on the daal. 

Vegan Option: use coconut oil instead of ghee. For a more earthy flavor use mustard oil. 

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