Main DishesOil FreePlant BasedQuickRecipesSide Dishes

Indian Dahl Tadka

Indian Dahl Tadka

There are probably as many versions of the Indian Dahl as the are Indian cooks. And of those there are a lot!

Dahl is – withou fail – on every single Indian restaurant menu. And with good reason. It is cheap, it is healthy, it is often quick to make, and it tastes heavenly!

In my world, having a curry meal without dahl is like having a bowl of ice cream without a spoon. You simply cannot have one without the other.


When looking at the menu at your local Indian restaurant you generally see two kinds of dahl. Tadka and Makhani. The Tadka is usually made with red lentils as its base whereas the Makhani is made using black lentils and sometimes also kidney beans. The Makhani is usually thickened with fresh cream whereas the Tadka generally is dairy free (except for the ghee which is exceptionally hard to avoid when eating at a restaurant).

I personally prefer the Dahl Tadka as I find Dahl Makhani, as flavorful as it is, too heavy due to the added cream.

Below is my version of the Dahl Tadka. It is simple and quick but very flavorful and full of healthy goodness.

A word of caution: I like a bit of spice so my recipe contains fresh chili. Leave this out if your tongue is a bit on the sensitive side or by all means add more if you prefer to blow your socks off!

This dahl goes really well with my Quick Tofu & Spinach Curry and also with the Indian Curry with Tofu, Cauliflower, and Kale. Serve with rice.

alt="Indian red lentil dahl topped with fresh coriander leaves."

Indian Dahl

Dea Zoffmann
Quick and full of flavor and healthy goodness. What's not to love!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Dish, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people as part of a meal


  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large red chili, cut into chunks optional
  • Salt & pepper to taste start with a pinch of salt and adjust at the end
  • Fresh coriander (cilantro) to serve optional
  • A couple of handfuls fresh baby spinach optional


  • In a pot with a lid, combine the lentils, onions, water, turmeric, cumin, ginger, garlic, chili (if using), and a little salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil and then simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils break apart completely, about 20 minutes.
  • Once cooked stir in the spinach, if using, and served topped with fresh coriander (cilantro) if you like.
Keyword healthy, lentils, turmeric

1 comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating