Yellow lentils with a splash of tempered spices

‘Tadka’ describes the spluttering sound of the tempering used to ?avour this dal. Similarly, the Hindi word ‘chaunk’ phonetically imitates the sound of the tempering when it is poured over cooked lentils. It is commonly used to describe the dal that has been tempered, thus ‘Chaunk Wali Dal’.

Ladlefuls of this lentil dish can be served in separate bowls or simply poured over a bed of steamed rice.

A little dollop of ghee (clari?ed butter) is the perfect ?nishing touch to steaming hot rice and this ?avourful dal.

Preparation Time: 05 min
Cooking Time: 30 min
Serves: 4
Taste: Medium

For the lentils

  • 1 cup yellow split lentils
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 2 cups water

For the tempering

  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1–2 green chillies
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped, to garnish


  • Inspect the lentils and remove any foreign objects, such as small stones and then wash the lentils well in cold water until the water runs clear.
  • Place the ginger paste, garlic paste, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and 1 Tbsp of oil, the lentils and 2 cups of water into a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15–20 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp oil in a pan on medium heat. Add cumin and asafoetida; when the cumin seeds start to crackle add the chopped onions, sauté until brown in colour, add chopped green chillies and sauté for another minute.
  • Pour the tempering onto the lentils, mix well. Add one cup of water (more water can be added; if the lentils look thick, to get medium consistency), stir. Add garam masala and salt, mix to combine everything uniformly. Cover and cook the lentils on medium heat for another 6-8 minutes.

Garnish with chopped coriander.

Serve hot with Jeera Rice or Roti

Ruby's Tip: The dal can be soaked for 30–40 minutes before cooking, to reduce the cooking time. The dal’s consistency is meant to be neither thick nor thin, but somewhere in between. You can adjust its consistency according to your preference.