Masoor Dal Tadka (Indian Split Red Lentil Dal)

Restaurant-Style Masoor Dal Tadka (Indian Split Red lentil Dal tempered with whole spices) is easy and quick to make, super comforting, creamy, and oh so flavorful! Glutenfree Soyfree Nutfree

Fans of dals will love this creamy Restaurant Style Masoor Dal Tadka!

Dal (also spelled as dhal or daal or Dahl) is one of my favorite meals – versatile, healthy, filling, and deliciously warming on a cold day.

Masoor dal is split red lentils, which are popular and easy to find at many grocery stores in the US. They are cheap and cook quickly making them a great choice for a simple weeknight meal. Red lentils are also available whole and they will work as well. Just cook a few minutes longer.

red lentil daal served over rice sprinkled with cilantro

Dal can be made thick,or thin and soupier, and you can use any kind of lentil. The tadka or tempering adds layers of complex flavors to the dal. The tempering can be mixed in into the dal or just drizzled on top.

This restaurant style version has not one but two tadkas or tempering to infuse with a lot of flavor. A small amount of  yogurt adds tang and brings the flavors together. A pinch of cloves brings out the garlic and savory flavor. This dal is going wow everyone! You can make this a thinner Dal with additional water or non dairy milk and serve it as a warming soup!

Is Dal a soup or a curry?

You will often find Dals translated into English either as soups or curries. I would say they are more a soup than a curry, but also neither. Dals are Dals. Different types of lentils and beans cooked with and without added veggies or ingredients and tempered with whole or ground spices or just aromatics.

A general everyday Dal does not have any added cream or coconut milk. Split lentils will cook to a soft state and get creamy. Or if you like them less broken down, then cook a few mins less. Dals like Dal makhani have some added cream. Restaurants might add additional butter or sometimes cream to make Dals more appealing.

As with ethnic cuisines the translations don’t always do justice. Indian Dals are often called lentil curry, which seems to be a logical translation. But lentil curry is also a term used for lentils cooked  with curry powder (which isn’t Indian) and coconut milk. The creamy, higher fat, slightly sweet lentil curry is different from(and often loved more compared to) a lighter lentil and water based and spiced Dals. Dals are savory, light and just Dals.

overhead shot of a serving dish with madoor dal tadka sprinkled with cilantro

Vegan Dal Recipes:

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