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Arhar Dal with Heeng Jeera Chaunk

A creamy Arhar Dal served with a drizzle of flavourful chaunk, a tempering made of ghee, heeng, jeera and Indian spices.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Optional Soaking time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: entree, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Arhar Dal, Arhar ki Dal, Beetroot leaves Dal, Chhonk, Heeng Jeera Chaunk, Toor dal chaunk
Servings: 4
Author: Sakshi Kapoor


  • Pressure Cooker (Recommended)


For the Arhar Dal

  • 1 1/2 cups Arhar Dal/ Pigeon pea lentils
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups Filtered Water
  • 1 pinch Asafoetida/ Heeng Plus more for chaunk, see below
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder/ Haldi
  • 1/4 tsp Sugar/Cheeni (optional)

For the Heeng Jeera Chaunk

  • 1 tbsp Ghee/Clarified butter
  • 1 pinch Heeng/ Asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp Jeera (Cumin seeds)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/4 tsp Coriander/ Dhaniya Powder


Cooking the Dal

  • Start by measuring the dal and transferring it into a big bowl. Rinse the dal with water a 4-5 times till the water is a bit clearer. Measure around 2 and a half cups of filtered water and pour over the dal to soak it.
  • If you have time, you can let the dal soak for 20 to 30 minutes. But if not, it is fine. You can cook the dal for a few extra minutes in the pressure cooker on low heat to get the desired consistency.
  • Transfer the soaked dal in the pressure cooker or a big saucepan. Add salt, turmeric powder and heeng and place the pressure cooker on medium high heat. Cook till you hear 1 whistle from the pressure cooker and then turn the heat on medium low. Cook on medium low for 7-10 minutes. If you are using a saucepan, cover the saucepan and cook till the lentils become soft enough to be mashed.
  • After 7-10 minutes, take the pressure cooker off heat and let the steam escape on its own. Once the steam escapes from the pressure cooker, open the cooker carefully. Stir the contents vigorously with a ladle to mash the dal and make it homogenous. If you feel the dal is too thin for your liking, you can adjust the consistency by cooking it without the lid for a few more minutes. If it is too thick, add a splash of hot water and stir it in to incorporate.
  • Next, throw in the optional sugar and mix it well in the dal. The sugar rounds off the dal’s flavour nicely by balancing out the savoury. The sweetness also lends to the creamy consistency of the dal.

Prepare the Heeng Jeera Chaunk

  • Before you start with this tempering, gather all the ingredients as you cannot overcook the spices in the ghee. The chaunk can be prepared in less than 2 minutes. I also recommend you switch on the exhaust as the spices in hot oil can be a very strong smell.
  • Start by placing a small pan on low heat.
  • Add a spoonful of ghee and let it melt.
  • As soon as the ghee melts, add a pinch or two of heeng and let it sizzle for around 5 seconds. Next throw in the cumin seeds and let them bloom for around 10 seconds. These spices should sizzle in the ghee if the ghee is hot enough. If not, wait for the cumin to bloom or just change its colour slightly. Whatever you do, do not turn up the heat! If the ghee is too hot, it will burn the spices.
  • Next, add the kashmiri red chilli powder and stir it in. Follow with a quarter teaspoon each of coriander powder and garam masala. Stir the ghee for a few seconds and take the pan off heat.
  • The spices will cook in the residual heat of the pan. The chaunk is now ready!
  • To serve pour the heeng jeera over the cooked Arhar dal.
  • Serve this creamy Arhar dal with a drizzle of the Heeng jeera chaunk and with steamed rice.