Punjabi Tadka Toor Dal

Punjabi Tadka Toor Dhal

Every family has their own version of this staple dhal, my two favourite ways to cook toor lentils (pigeon pea) are with either a spicy chili and garlic tadka/ turka (spice tempering) or with a more south Indian flavour profile using mustard seeds and spinach.

This is a really simple, everyday, nutritious meal that can be made quickly, perfect for rustling up during your lunch hour when working from home, or after a long afternoon walk. I used a pressure cooker to speed up the cooking process, you could also use an instant pot or just a regular pot too, as after soaking these lentils do not take long to cook.

I served mine alongside aloo gobi and lacha parathas seasoned with ainseed, the perfect summer meal full of goodness. The kids love it with an extra dollop of butter just before serving and it goes down a treat.


1 cup of Toor Dhal
1 cup of Yellow Split Peas
Water for soaking
2 Tomatoes
2 inch piece of Ginger
1 tbsp Rapeseed Oil
2 tsp Cumin Seeds
6 cloves of Garlic
4 Spring Onions
2 Red Chilies
2 tsp Garam Masala
2 tsp Ground Cumin
2 tsp Tumeric
1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
1 tsp Paprika
Coriander to garnish


1. Soak your lentils overnight in around 4 cups of water.


2. Rinse lentils after soaking and add to a pressure cooker along with 1 tomato roughly chopped, 1 inch of ginger sliced, 1 tsp tumeric and salt.

3. Cover with enough water so it covers around 3cm above the dhal and cook for around 4 whistles, alternatively bring to the boil in a normal pot and cook for around 30 minutes on a high heat.


4. Once the dhal has cooked, in a separate pan heat the oil and add the cumin seeds.

5. Once they begin to release their aromas add in finely crushed garlic.

6. Once the garlic begins to brown add in finely sliced spring onions.

7. Let this cook down for around 10 minutes, before lowering the heat before adding your spices.

8. Add in spices and cook them out for 2 minutes.

9. Add in red chilies and tomatoes and cook for a further 5- 6 minutes. 

10. Add in the tadka to the dhal, combine and heat through for 10 minutes before garnishing and enjoying whilst hot.