Arhar or Toor Daal

Rashmi's Recipes  » gluten free, side dish »  Arhar or Toor Daal

Arhar daal, also known as Toor daal or pigeon pea is the most commonly cooked daal in India. In North-Eastern India Arhar Daal is cooked almost every day for lunch or dinner. My mom would sometimes add a seasonal vegetable to daal such as squash or taro root and season it with raw mango slices during the summer for extra tang.
Daals take less time to cook if soaked in water for an hour or two. I prefer to cook my daal in a pressure cooker because it takes only five minutes once the pressure is built. Daal can be cooked in a slow cooker as well.
In my blog posting ‘All about Daals‘, I have placed Toor daal in group 3 along with Urad daal, washed Urad daal, Moong daal, washed Moong daal and washed Masoor based on the cooking time and seasonings required.
Tadka or chhaunk can be added just before serving. My mother used mustard oil for frying tadka ingredients (I use olive oil or ghee) and added a pinch of ghee to the individual bowls just before serving. The sizzling sound of tadka from the kitchen was the signal that dinner was ready!

1 cup Arhar or Toor daal, washed and soaked for one hour or more
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. turmeric
Pinch of asafoetida (heeng), optional

For tempering (tadka):
1-2 tbsps. butter/ghee/oil

1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic
1 whole dried chili, broken in 3-4 pieces (optional)

If Daal has not been soaked, it will take more water and longer to cook. Start with 3 cups of water and add more as needed. Instead of tadka, a dollop of ghee or butter can be added just before serving.


  • Drain soaked Daal.
  • Place in a saucepan with 3 cups of water, salt, turmeric and asafoetida.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 35-45 minutes until Daal starts to break down.
  • Stir with a heavy spoon to mash Daal grains, cooking a little longer if necessary for a creamy consistency.
  • Taste for salt and thickness which should be soup-like. Add more water if too thick.
  • Pour in a serving dish.
  • Add tadka and serve with rice and roti.


  • In a small frying pan, melt butter.
  • Add cumin, garlic and dried chili and stir until garlic starts to brown.
  • Pour sizzling tadka on Daal.

Ingredients of tadka can vary by adding your choice of chopped tomatoes, minced ginger, chopped onion, curry leaves, mustard seeds or chilies.
Copyright © Rashmi Rustagi 2012. All Rights Reserved.


3 thoughts on “Arhar or Toor Daal”

  1. Hi Ambika,
    Most pressure cookers come with instructions. In general, most daals cook in about five minutes after the pressure is built.

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