If you follow my over on @thechutneylife, you know I   don’t eat a ton of traditional gujarati food like rotli, shaak etc. but there are a few things I  make an exception for- like my mom’s dal fry. Actually, I’m not even sure if it’s considered “traditional” (it’s very different than gujarati dal) but it’s one of those comfort meals that I  crave from time to time so over the last few months I’ve been working on getting my mom’s recipe just right. I watched her make it a few times and then made it a few times myself and now it’s finally good enough to share with YOU ! I’m so excited for this recipe because I  honestly think it turned out better than my mom’s (luckily she won’t be reading this and even if she did, she’d probably just be super proud! lol).

I’ve used my Instant Pot to pressure cook the toor dal in this recipe, which is the first step, but you could also use a traditional pressure cooker to cook the dal. It tastes great with a side of sliced raw onions (pinch of salt, cumin, chili powder and squeeze of lime) and some Jeera Rice or plain rice! I    hope you enjoy it and if you do make it, please be sure to tag me over on @thechutneylife so I    can see all of your creations!

Happy Eating!



Mom's Dal Fry

Spicy, savory toor dal that pairs great with jeera rice for a comforting meal!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins


  • 1/2 cup Toor Dal
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 8-10 small curry leaves
  • 2 green chilis, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup diced onions
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp red chili powder (less for less spice)
  • 1/2 tsp Dhana Jiru (Coriander-Cumin Powder)
  • 1/2 tsp hing (asafoteida)
  • 3/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 1.5 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup water


Cook the Toor Dal in the Instant Pot

  • Combine 1/2 cup rinsed toor dal with 1.5 cups water in the Instant Pot and turn on to Pressure Cook High mode an cook for 12 minutes then quick release. Set Aside.

To make Dal Fry:

  • Heat a pot over medium high heat and add the ghee. Once it starts to melt, add the cumin seeds and green chilis. Let splutter. Next add the hing, garli, and curry leaves. Stir continously and let the garlic get sligtly golden (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Add the diced onions, pinch of salt and cook until onions are just becoming translucent (no need to brown the onions)after 3-4 minutes, add the chili powder, coridander- cumin powder, turmeric powder and remainder of the salt - quickly stire and add the cooked dal from the instant pot plus 1 additional cup of water. Bring to a slow simmer and let cook for about 4-5 minutes until the Dal has thickened a bit. Add cilantro and remove from heat. Taste for salt and serve hot!
  • Note: As the dal sits, it will start to thicken. You can add splashes of water when you reheat it (just be sure to adjust the salt level if you add a lot of water).