The Only Tadka Dhal Recipe You’ll Ever Need

Tadka Dhal is a delicious Indian lentil curry made with red lentils. It’s easy to make, flavorful, and healthy as well as naturally gluten-free!

The Classic Tadka Dhal – serves 4

Takda means to temper, a special technique where whole or ground spices are briefly roasted in oil or ghee (clarified butter) to release their natural oils and making their flavour more aromatic.


250g red lentils

1 tbsp vegetable or rapeseed oil

50g butter

3 cloves garlic finely chopped

1/2 tsp black mustard seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp crushed or ground or ground chillies (optional)

1 tsp salt

1/2 fresh lemon or 1 tbsp lemon juice

A handful of fresh coriander


To cook – it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…..


Place lentils in a medium-sized pan covering with approx 1cm water.

Bring to a gentle simmer and then loosely cover with lid and cook on a low heat for approx 10-15 minutes until texture like loose porridge.

Do not cover completely and check every few minutes and add more water as necessary.

tadka dahl recipe


Heat oil and butter in a pan until hot, turn down the heat and add cumin and mustard seeds and warm until aromatic and starting to pop and fizzle.

Now add chopped garlic and cook until lightly golden brown.

Add turmeric and chilli powder (if using) and take off heat.

tadka dahl recipe


Pour tempered spices and garlic over cooked lentils, add salt and lemon juice and stir through.

Taste for salt and adjust as necessary.

Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and serve with parathas or naan for a light meal or serve alongside curries for a larger dinner.

tadka dahl recipe

Recipe By Neha Hampton

Neha Hampton is a private chef based in Sussex. In normal times hosting pop-up supper clubs & private dining events and recently pivoted to curry paste maker and hosting online cookery workshops to continue sharing her love for authentic global cuisine. More info at or on the socials @nehahampton

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