I have a problem with hard dal after frying. Can someone explain the cause.

I made a tarka for lemon rice yesterday and added 1 tsp of urid dal to the frying mixture as called for in the recipe. Left out the 1 tsp toor dal cos they are bigger and I couldn't imagine that they would cook. On eating, the dal was very hard and weird in the rice. Like eating uncooked rice with cooked rice.

My friend made this recipe before (and used toor dal as well) and when we ate it, I did not notice any hard bits (and I ate the rice for a couple of days after that). I asked her and she said she doesn't know why it became hard. She has also encountered the same problem.

Should the rice be left to steam further after mixing in the tarka?

2 Answers 2


Generally you have to soak lentils for many hours, use a pressure cooker to soften them up or a combination of the two. Only masoor dal can be cooked straight away. So I'm guessing you missed a step in whatever recipe you are following.

  • Could also be that salt was added during cooking rather than after the dal is cooked, which would result in hard dal too.
    – bob1
    Mar 18, 2019 at 2:28
  • Yes, I could have done that. Will take note for the future. Thanks!
    – user73517
    Mar 20, 2019 at 19:37

Without looking at your recipe, it's hard to know for sure. One guess might be that your dal is old; old and dried-out legumes generally take longer to soften when you're cooking them, so it may be that the toasting followed by a brief steaming on top of the rice wasn't long enough to soften them. Whatever the cause, next time you may want to let the dal cook longer, whether it's when you're toasting them to make the tarka or after you add the tarka to the rice (in which case the steam from the rice will also help if they're dried out).

  • I don't think my dal was old. Well at least, I bought it recently but I did not look at the expiry date. The first time, my friend mixed the tarka with the rice while it was still in the rice cooker and we did not eat the rice immediately. So I guess that gave it time for the dal to get cooked. When I cooked it, I took out a portion of rice, mixed in the tarka and we ate immediately. I will take note of this. Thanks!
    – user73517
    Mar 20, 2019 at 19:38

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