This picture is the photo that was published with the original post. Yup, my photography skills have improved significantly and hopefully the improvement continues! Also keep in mind that while the updated photographs are from Nikon D7000 during natural day light, the original pics were clicked with my iPhone at night under a bulb’s light:)

I finally got it!! V had been guarding his lentil recipe all this while. For the uninitiated, V makes this awesome toovar dal (cooked lentils) in the slow cooker. This was the recipe that got him by his bachelor days. And uptil now he wouldn’t tell me how he makes it. He always throws me out of the kitchen whenever he makes it (which has been twice before) so that I don’t get to know his secret recipe (rolling eyes).

Now, for days I had been craving his dal, with some rice. And since the rare occasions that he cooks fall on Sundays and all the previous Sundays we have been out- that craving just kept increasing. Finally, the Sunday that went, V decided to give in to my cravings and set his foot in the kitchen. :)

Haha! This picture of V just cracks me up!

Haha! This picture of V just cracks me up!

This time though, he was willing to share his secret!! Well, the opportunity to be featured on my blog- not just in photos but as an actual contributor- that was too big for him to pass on, so he let me in on his secret.

So there I was, with my phone in hand taking down notes and pictures while V explained how his dal is made.

Here’s how to make V’s Crockpot Dal:

4.6 from 5 reviews
V's Crockpot Lentil Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: crockpot, slow cooker, lentils, dinner, lunch, entree
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 3-4
What you need for the slow cooker:
  • 1 cup split pigeon peas (toovar dal)
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 3 roma tomatoes, cut in big slices
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Salt, to taste
For the tadka, you need:
  • 3 garlic cloves, cut lengthwise, in slivers
  • 2-3 tbsp ghee (V adds more, I think but, so that I don't freak out he mentioned a "smaller" amount)
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli powder
  1. Take the dal (split pigeon peas), and wash it properly. Add the water, tomatoes, turmeric and salt. Put the lid on the crockpot and turn it on HIGH. Let cook for 4 hours.
  2. After 4 hours, the lentil should be cooked. Now comes the part that holds the key to the dal being so freakingly good.
The secret to his dal, according to V is the tadka (the tempering of spices).
  1. To temper, heat clarified butter (ghee) to a real hot temperature in a saucepan. Add the garlic, fry til they turn brown. Add the cumin, coriander and red chilli powder. (You might want to open a window, because the spices do tend to get into your system). Fry till it looks a little burnt. (I confirmed with V and he said thats how its supposed to be.)
  2. Add the burnt looking tempered spices to the crockpot and quickly close the lid. After a few seconds, lift the lid- with a ladle take out some dal and put in the saucepan used for tempering. Scrape out any remaining spices in the saucepan, and add the liquid back to the crock pot.
  3. Serve it warm with rice and some curd. The dal has a very strong flavor of garlic but I think thats what adds to the beauty of it. :)

23 Thoughts on “A BACHELOR’S ANSWER TO HOME-MADE MEAL- V’s Crockpot Lentil Recipe

  1. Bhinee on 19 January, 2011 at 4:55 am said:

    I will surely try this version of V’s toor ki daal today itself!!!
    btw V cute pic 😉

  2. This looks really good! I love recipes that I can throw in the crockpot! I will definitely have to give this recipe a try! :)

  3. I would be lost in the kitchen without my crock pot, nice recipe, great idea, thanks.

  4. Wow! Your photos have improved so much, they look amazing! And not to mention this recipe sounds so tasty as well.

  5. great dal! super recipe…. will surely want to try it out.

  6. [email protected] on 20 August, 2013 at 8:42 am said:

    So once the spices and ghee are added to the crock pot, do we cook for a further 2 hours?

    • Well you can eat it right away, but letting it simmer for another hour or so wont hurt. These days, I just let the dal cook for 6 hours and then do the tempering and eat it straight away.

  7. Wow, I tried this today and it was amazing….. I couldn’t stop eating it. And I just couldn’t get over how easy it was! I doubled the recipe, and a good thing too! I ate half of the batch myself! I’m hoping it’ll keep well and be a yummy left over. :) Thank you thank you!

  8. Rory Jacobs on 6 December, 2013 at 10:14 am said:

    Do you use red chile powder or chili powder (mixture of spices)?
    Is there a good substitution for red chile powder?

    • I use red chilli powder. You can use cayenne pepper or paprika. It would be slightly different (I guess milder) but should do the trick. Even subbing crushed red chili flakes should work. Sorry for the late reply. Hope it helps.

  9. Annie Philip on 29 December, 2013 at 4:14 am said:

    Could you let me know which slow cooker you use including the size? I would really appreciate that??

  10. Christine on 30 January, 2014 at 7:04 am said:

    I could only find pigeon peas (NOT split).. Will they work??
    Or do I need to pre-soak them??
    Can’t wait to make this!

  11. I know it has been a while since this recipe was posted, but I have used this a couple of times. Frying the spices and then adding it to the dhal is amazing!! Just adds that extra layer to the flavour.

    I cheated the third time as I was in a hurry and I used red lentils and I cooked it on the hob. Worked perfectly!

    Thank you :)

    • Glad to know that you enjoyed the recipe, Lucy! Yes tempering spices does lend to a wonderful flavor and thanks for letting everyone know the recipe works great with red lentils and on the hob equally well.

  12. Just wanted to tell you that we tried this recipe yesterday and loved it! Thank you so much for sharing. I love the way it makes my house smell too.
    Dianna recently posted..How I’m survivingMy Profile

  13. Christina on 12 February, 2015 at 10:18 pm said:

    I was so excited to try this recipe when I saw it…but it came out horribly! I’m not blaming the recipe, as it seems that everyone else had a great experience with it. I’m just wondering where I might have went wrong! The stock was extremely watery (I ended up scooping out almost 4 cups of watery broth) and the lentils were not super soft, even after 6 hours of cooking in the crockpot. The whole thing really just tasted like watered-down split peas :( I am a HUGE fan of garlic, and since I doubled the recipe I used 6 cloves and I still couldn’t taste the garlic. I also felt like I had to add a TON of salt because it just tasted so bland. I would love to leave a comment without rating the recipe, because I’m thinking it must’ve been something I did. I am an avid cook, but this was my first time cooking toor dal. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Christina, so sorry to hear that this recipe did not work for you. I am not sure what went wrong. Maybe different measurement sizes were used? Try with lesser water, but for me consistency wise the listed amount has worked. As for the garlic, the 3 cloves listed are based on the really fat garlic I have found in my grocery store. But I have found in places like India the cloves are tinier and yes in that case 3 cloves will definitely not be sufficient. I just go by feel then.

    • FreddieBrown on 9 March, 2015 at 8:15 pm said:

      Your comment said you scooped out 4 cups of water. The recipe only asked for 3.5 cups of water. I think you added more than what was called for obviously.
      Perhaps you were not counting the cups ?

  14. Mike on 14 May, 2015 at 10:30 pm said:

    Thank you for the slow cooker tur dal recipe. Most dal recipes on the internet use various pressure cookers. Would you please advise if one could substitute a vegetable oil such as mustard oil for the ghee? Also, do you have any suggestions about using other dals such as channa, urad, or mung dal. Could you use the same cooking times, or do you, hopefully, have other slow cooker recipes for these dals?

  15. SamChad on 20 May, 2015 at 5:27 pm said:

    The recipe is a winner even after all these years. I also tried a variation without garlic. I used 1/4 tsp each of fenugreek, ajwain, mustard and cumin seeds, 1/4 teaspoon of hing and 2 tbsp ground ginger in the tadka. This is big hit.

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