Cooked yellow lentils garnished with dry red chilli and a sprig of mint leaves next to a bowl of rice.

Arhar (Toor) Dal Fry

by Leena Kohli (@leenakohli)
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time

The dish you know and love! You're going to love this one, I guarantee it.

This dish is a staple in most Indian homes, and for good reason: it's easy, delicious and packed with protein. It's also fast and simple to make with pantry staples—you can have it on the table in under 20 minutes!

And no matter what time of day you're making this dish—whether it's lunch or dinner—it will be comfort food at its finest.


4 Servings
  • 1cup
    Toor (Arhar) Dal
  • 1 1/2cup
  • 3/4tbsp
  • 1tsp
    Red Chilli Powder
  • 1tsp
  • 1/8tsp
    Asafoetida (Hing)

For Tempering

  • 2tbsp
  • 1tsp
    Cumin Seeds
  • 1
    Dry Red Chilli (broken)
  • 3
    Garlic Cloves (finely chopped)
  • 2
    Green Chillies (finely chopped)
  • 1/2
    Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/4cup
    Tomato (ground/pureed)
  • 1tsp
    Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
  • 1tbsp
    Lemon Juice


  1. Wash and soak Arhar (Toor) Dal for 10 minutes.

  2. Place a pressure cooker on high flame. Add the soaked dal. Mix in turmeric, red chilli powder and salt. Pour water in the pressure cooker and stir.

    Uncooked yellow lentils in a steel ladle over a pressure cooker with water.
  3. Bring it to a boil (do not cover with lid).

  4. Once boiled, shut the lid completely. Allow to cook till 1 whistle of the pressure cooker. Turn off the flame and let the steam be released on its own.

  5. Once the steam is released completely, open the lid and keep the boiled dal aside.

    A spoonful of boiled yellow lentils over a pressure cooker.
  6. Meanwhile chop the onions, garlic and green chillies and keep aside for tempering.

    A cup of tomato puree next to chopped onions, green chillies, garlic, cumin and broken dry red chilli.

For Tempering

  1. Heat ghee in a deep pan on medium flame. Add a pinch of asafoetida (hing), dry red chilli and cumin seeds. Let them crackle.

    Cumin seeds and broken red chilli being tempered in oil in a heavy-bottomed pan.
  2. Add the chopped garlic and saute for a minute.

    Tempered chopped garlic and cumin seeds on steel ladle. In the background spices being tempered in a pan.
  3. Add the chopped onions and saute for 2-3 minutes till onions turn translucent.

    Chopped onions being tempered in a pan with oil, cumin, chopped garlic and broken red chillies.
  4. Add in the tomato and kashmiri red chilli powder. Mix well and cook for another minute till ghee comes on the surface.

    A mix of spices being tempered in oil in a heavy-bottomed pan.
  5. You can add a little water here in case your boiled dal is a bit thick. Bring the mixture to a boil.

    Water added to tempered spices in a pan.
  6. Add the boiled dal and lemon juice to the pan. Stir gently. Bring to a boil and then let the dal simmer for 3-4 minutes on low flame or till the dal is cooked.. To check the doneness, mash a few lentils between your thumb and fore-finger. If the dal is mushy, it is cooked.

    Lemon juice being poured from a measuring spoon into a pan full of cooked yellow lentils.
  7. Serve hot with rice or roti and with a side of Jeera-Aloo.

    Cooked yellow lentils with specks of cumin and pieces of broken red chilli on top.

Tips & Tricks

  1. To make this dish vegan, replace ghee with a cooking oil of your choice.

  2. Soaking the lentils in advance reduces the cooking time. Use fresher lentils as aged lentils take longer to cook.

  3. Adjust the consistency of the dal by adjusting the required amount of water. It should neither be too runny nor too thick.

  4. Store any left-overs in an air-tight container and refrigerate and consume within 1 day. The dal will thicken after cooling. To reheat, pour the dal in a pot, add a little water and bring to a boil.

  5. Arhar (Toor) Dal is known as split pigeon peas in English.

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Recipe by

Leena Kohli


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