Basic Tempering for Dals

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“Pulses - dried beans, split peas and lentils are a staple in India and provide protein for families who eat meat rarely or are vegetarian. (It has as much protein as a steak) They are versatile and combine beautifully with any meal. Can be had as a soup too. Though pulses can cause flatulence and cannot be stored for long once cooked this can be countered by using ginger/ asafoetida/ turmeric while cooking. (but we do not consume it after one day even if stored in the fridge - some others do but I have my own ways) They are a must atleast at one meal of the day.”
1hr 10mins

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Wash pulses.
  2. Soak whole pulses overnight or soak in boiling hot water for 20 mins.
  3. Split/unhusked pulses can be soaked in cold water for 30 mins before cooking.
  4. Use the same water for cooking in which the pulses have soaked.
  5. Add a little salt, turmeric powder and ginger and garlic (if used) I add an onion and tomato too while cooking if I am not using these in the tempering or sometimes even if I am there is no limit to the permutations and combinations once you get the hang of it.
  6. Spinach, pumpkin, beans and many more veges can be added while cooking.
  7. Also can add a little oil or ghee to speed up the cooking and keep the dals from frothing.
  8. Pressure cook for 1 whistle and then reduce heat for 1-7 mins for split beans (red and yellow lentils for eg. cook a little faster than red and yellow gram) and pressure cook and then reduce heat for 30- 45 mins for whole dals.
  9. Well cooked and blended dals taste better.
  10. Take off heat and wait for all steam to escape.
  11. You can cook them on the stove top too- simmer till done.
  12. But they cook faster in the Cooker.
  13. Method for Tomato Onion Baghar (Temper) (Just omit ingredients for the Cumin Coriander baghar) Now heat the oil/ clarified butter in a small fry pan or vessel.
  14. Reduce heat and add cumin seeds.
  15. When it turns golden (do not burn them) add onion.
  16. Cook till onion turns brown.
  17. Do not undercook the onions.
  18. Brown them, stirring all the time.
  19. Add tomatoes and cook 2-3 minutes Add coriander, raw mango powder (if not avalable then omit and add 2 tsp of lime juice to the dal after tempering and garnishing with coriander leaver (cilantro)), and garam masala.
  20. Cook for 1/2 a minute.
  21. Remove from fire and add the green chillies and the red chilli powder.
  22. Pour tempering over the hot dal and mix gently.
  23. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
  24. Note for Split red lentils you can add chopped garlic while tempering after you add the cumin and then brown them too.
  25. THe more garlic the merrier for me but then you can use your discretion.
  26. For the Asafoetida Mustard baghar Fry the asafoetida till brown in the hot oil and then add the mustard seeds.
  27. Fry till they crackle.
  28. Remove from fire and add the red chillies and curry leaves.
  29. Mix and add to the cooked dal.
  30. Try it and enjoy this item which is a must at every Indian household and the variations that one can introduce.
  31. I can make over 50 types of dal (tastewise) and I am still counting.

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