This recipe for everyday dal calls for a very short list of ingredients and takes minimal effort to make.
So what’s in this everyday dal? Just split lentils and water. A little salt and turmeric too. That’s it.
I realize this “everyday dal” might sound bland… BUT, the key to making this dal flavorful is in the tempering. Depending on where you’re from, you may call it tadka, chhonk or vaghar. The idea is the same: you sizzle spices in hot oil or ghee. And then you pour that flavorful spiced oil on top of the dal just before serving.
Feel free to switch up the tadka to give this dal some variety, especially if you end up making it often. Try it with sliced garlic or caramelized shallots/onions or curry leaves or with a pinch of hing.
“I made this earlier in the week and it was delicious! My hubby is the primary cook in the house (lucky me!) and he is particularly good at making dal. He was so impressed with how this turned out and my mother-in-law called it “restaurant quality”. I was most impressed at the dal consistency, it was absolutely perfect.”Ruki
Cook dal and rice at the same time in the same pot!
The cook time for this dal is the same as that of basmati rice, and so I usually cook the two together in the same pot. Just put a trivet into the pot with the dal and place an oven-safe container with rice and water on top of the trivet. I’ve included these “pot-in-pot” directions in the recipe card.
Everyday Dal is for Everyone!
This is a great way to make dal for the whole family because the tadka is easy to adapt to taste and spice preference.
I usually make a spicy tadka for me, my husband, and our toddler (that’s the tadka I’ve shared in the recipe card below) and a mild but flavorful tadka for my infant.
I get a lot of questions from parents about how to introduce Indian food to little ones. I think this dal is a great way to do that. (But I’m also just a food blogger, so please talk to a pediatrician before starting your kiddo on solids).
My youngest, Ace, is now 8-months-old and eats non-spicy spices. And so when I make this dal, I’ll make a separate tadka for Ace using ghee, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and spices like garam masala, paprika, black pepper.
I also mix soft veggies/purees into his dal, so he gets more food variety/nutrients. He really enjoys this dal – for now anyway, heh.
(2022 Update: Ace is nearly 3 years old now and still loves dal – all types. He can handle fairly spicy food too – there have been several times when I’ve thought something was spicy but he happily eats without complaint – must take after his dad there, lol).
This everyday dal is a great dish to make on days when you’re short on time/energy but still want to enjoy a homemade meal. I hope you love this dal for its simplicity.
To make PIP (Pot-in-Pot) Rice:
- 1 cup rice soaked for 15 minutes
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Everyday Dal and Rice (PIP)
- Soak dal in water for 15 minutes. If making rice, also soak for 15 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- Put the dal ingredients into the instant pot.
- If making rice, place the rice ingredients into an oven-safe container. Place a trivet into the pot with the dal, and then place the oven-safe container on top of the trivet.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 6 minutes at high pressure.
- Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes, then open the valve to release any remaining pressure.
How to Make Tadka:
- Add ghee to a small pot or pan on the stove and once the ghee is hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds. When the cumin seeds turn brown, add the green chilies stir for a minute then add the spices. Stir this into the cooked dal immediately prior to serving.