A restaurant-style dal tadka is achievable. Photo: Dreamstime
It is the one dish that unites a vegetarian as well as a non-vegetarian alike. The quintessential dal has not only a fan following in India, but also all over the world.
Dal can be cooked with a variety of lentils - masoor, toor, chana, moong - to name some of the most commonly prepared dals in Indian households. While some are boiled and cooked with a simple tempering, others follow clear techniques and processes.
Among all the preparations, dal tadka is one that deserves an applause - for being a signature restaurant dish as well as a popular fixture in most north Indian homes. Tadka here simply means tempering of spices, which elevates the flavours of the lentil used. Usually served with steamed rice or as an accompaniment to dry subzi, dal tadka remains the most ordered dish at an Indian restaurant.
So, what is the recipe of a perfect dal tadka? Onions, tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste and a simple tadka of spices, right? To achieve a restaurant-style dal tadka, you gotto do more. Here's what makes a dal tadka stand out from the ordinary.
1. For a restaurant-style dal tadka, you need to be generous with the ghee. Use butter instead, but use it with an open heart.
2. The tempering has to be spiked with dried Kashmiri dried chillies. Break them into two pieces while adding it to the tadka.
3. Go for a combination of lentils - orange masoor and moong or toor and masoor - for that extra punch. You will notice the flavour infusion.
4. Allow the cumin and mustard seeds to crackle for that perfect flavour, which means your oil has to hot.
5. Ensure that the garlic and ginger are cooked thoroughly. Nobody likes the taste of raw garlic!