Quick Punjabi Dal Fry

May 17, 2015

I don’t know about you, but busy weekdays are all about recipe shortcuts for me. And this quick Punjabi Dal Fry, ticks the all-important comfort box with the one for speed during the Monday to Friday haze. It uses a classic Indian Tomato Curry sauce, that can be cooked in a giant batch and stored and frozen in equal half cup portions. If all you want to do is slump on a couch, get your lentils bubbling and a bag out of the freezer. Dinner will be ready while you enjoy your time wishing it were Friday.

If you don’t have the tomato curry sauce handy, no problem. Check out the full, original recipe here.

Punjabi dal


Feeds 2-4:

  • 1/2 cup split urad lentils
  • 1/2 cup channa lentils (split bengal gram)
  • Half cup Tomato Curry Sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Handful fresh coriander (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp oil (or ghee, if you prefer a non vegan version)


Wash the lentils well in a sieve with cold running tap until the water runs clear. Then bring to boil with twice as much cold water, and bubble on medium high for at least 30 minutes until the mixture resembles a thick soup.

You’ll have to keep adding water to prevent the mixture from drying up too much and burning. Just remember to add half a cup of hot water at a time only. I always keep a boiled kettle ready when I make dal. The texture needs to be that of thick soup.

In 30 minutes, mix in the tomato curry sauce and lower the heat to medium. Check for salt at this stage, and add it to your liking. Then make the tadka. Bring the ghee to heat on medium in a small saucepan. When it’s hot, add the pinch of hing and the cumin seeds, and as they sizzle up stir the tadka into the dal.

Ladle into a bowl, sprinkling the garam masala and fresh coriander (if using) on top to serve. Quick Punjabi Dal Fry is lovely mopped up with flatbreads. Roti liberally rubbed with butter is best.



One Response to “Quick Punjabi Dal Fry”

  1. Curry On: How to Use Indian Curry Sauce in 5 Dinners | Curious Says:

    August 26th, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    […] Quick Punjabi Dal FryPunjabi Dal is a thick, wholesome version of the ever-popular lentil curry that bursts with flavor. Popular in North India, this is best with a dollop of ghee, scooped into roti parcels and eaten with with your fingers. On my holidays in Delhi as a child, the rotis would be laced with white butter, which we kids would promptly smear all over our mouths as lip-gloss! In case you’re wondering, I don’t roll out the rotis on battle-ravaged days—I’ll always have a pack of ready-made ones in the freezer for those meals!   […]

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