Smoky Dal Tadka & Shahi Kadhai


I am no veggie lover. I barely cook exotic vegetarian cuisine, so when I got an order inquiry for vegetarian restaurant type food, I was like no problem Paneer hai na.

Then the client said, NOoo I want a rich mixed vegetable dish and Dal that’s something different.

I was like sure why not. As soon as I keep the phone, messaged my vegetarian friends. Kya banau. Am in a fix. I don’t eat nor do I order vegetarian dishes at restaurants.


So finally settled in on Shahi Kadhai. Which is mixed vegetables with cashew and khuskhus paste to give it the richness.

The other dish I made is Smoky Dal Tadka from The Dal gets elevated to another level by incorporating the smoke from burning coal.



Boil together

Tomatoes – 6-7 (cut into 4 pcs)
Onions – 2 quartered
chopped Ginger – 1″
Garlic  – 6 cloves
Green chili – 2
Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Cloves – 8
Green cardamom – 7
Salt to taste
Water – enough to cover the tomatoes
Ghee – 1-2 tbsp
10-12 cashew
KhusKhus – 2 tsp
Half cup hot water
Chopped coriander

150 gms french beans

100 gms carrots

200 gms peas

100 gms capsicum

200 gms paneer

1 tbsp garlic paste


1-2 tsp veg masala – kitchen king or kadhai masala


  1. Take a heavy bottomed vessel and boil the tomatoes, onions, water, ginger, garlic, green chili, red chili powder, cloves, green cardamom and salt. U can tie the cloves and cardamom in a muslin pouch or cloth as you will need to discard them later.
  2. Put the vessel on high heat for the first 5 minutes and then lower the heat to medium.
  3. Reduce this mixture to a sauce like consistency for about 20-25 minutes.
  4. Once the curry is done, shut off the flame and let it cool a bit. Once it is a little cool, take out the cloves and cardamoms.
  5. Meanwhile soak the cashew and khuskhus in hot water for 20 mins. Grind to a fine paste.
  6. Side by side, cut the vegetables and paneer. Heat some oil in a pan, add the garlic paste and saute the vegetables on high heat. Add salt and the veg masala at the end when nearly cooked
  7. Remove the vegetables and saute the paneer in the same pan. Keep aside
  8. When cool, puree the curry till it gets a smooth creamy texture in a mixie.
  9. Heat ghee and put the curry back into the heavy bottomed pan and bring to boil.
  10. Heat this for 5 minutes on medium flame, making sure that everything is well incorporated. Adjust salt and spice.
  11. Add the cashew khuskhus paste and let it cook out for 5 mins.
  12. Now add the sauteed vegetables and mix it well once. Shut gas and add chopped coriander.


SMOKY DAL TADKA – vegrecipesofindia


½ cup tuvar dal + ½ cup masoor dal

1 or 2 green chilies, chopped or slit lengthwise

1 medium sized onion, chopped

2 medium sized tomato, chopped

½ inch ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp turmeric powder/haldi

a pinch or two of garam masala powder

a pinch of asafoetida/hing

2.5 cups water for pressure cooking

1 tsp kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves, crushed

1 or 2 tbsp cream

1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

salt as required


for the tempering/tadka:
  • 2 tbsp oil or 1.5 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves/lahsun, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3  dry red chilies
  • a generous pinch of asafoetida/hing
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
for garnish:
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves/dhania patta
for the dhungar method:
  • a small piece of charcoal
  • ¼ tsp ghee or oil


  1. rinse the dals and add them to the pressure cooker.
  2. to the lentils, add chopped onions, tomato, green chilies, ginger.
  3. pour 2.5 cups water. add turmeric powder and asafoetida. stir well.
  4. pressure cook the lentils for about 7 to 8 whistles or more till they become soft and creamy. mash the dal with a wired whisk or with a spoon and keep aside. Adjust to desired consistency.
  5. once the desired consistency is reached, add cream, garam masala powder, crushed kasuri methi, chopped coriander leaves and salt. switch off the fire. mix well so that everything combines uniformly. check salt before you add the tempering. if less than add more salt.
  1. dhungar method:
    1. next is the dhungar method of flavoring the dal with the smoky fumes of burnt charocal. for this with the help of tongs or on a grill pan like shown in the pic below, place the a small piece of charcoal. burn the charcoal till it becomes red hot. please use natural charcoal for this method.note that this is an optional step and you can proceed directly to the tempering method.
    2. place the red hot charcoal in a small steel bowl.
    3. pour about ¼ tsp of oil or ghee on the charcoal. you will see fumes emanating as soon as you pour oil or ghee on the hot charcoal.
    4. place this bowl on the dal.
    5. cover the cooker or the pot with a lid and let the dal get infused with the charcoal smoke. just keep for 1 to 2 minutes. the more you keep. the more smoky the dal will become. remove the bowl carefully with the helps of tongs and cover the dal. keep aside.
    preparing the tempering/tadka/chaunk:
    1. next heat oil or ghee or butter in a small pan. first add cumin seeds and crackle them. the cumin should get fried and not be raw but don’t burn them.
    2. now add red chilies, asafoetida and chopped garlic. let the garlic brown and the red chilies change color.
    3. lastly add red chili powder. stir and switch off the stove. make sure to fry the tempering ingredients at a low flame, so that you don’t burn them.
    4. pour the entire tempering along with the oil/ghee into the dal.
    5. you can mix the dal or serve the dal tadka with the tempering on top it. garnish dal tadka with coriander leaves. serve dal tadka hot with steamed basmati rice, jeera rice or with rotis or phulkas.