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 toovarΒ 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. πŸ™‚

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 11 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. πŸ™‚

40 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 πŸ˜‰

  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! πŸ™‚

  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. 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. πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

    • 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 πŸ™ 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.

      • Christina on 10 March, 2015 at 1:28 pm said:

        I’m going to try it again! It can’t hurt….

        • shakun nimmo on 21 May, 2017 at 8:53 am said:

          Sometimes, it is the raw dal that is the culprit. I’ve bought dals that don’t ever get soft, even in a pressure cooker. Buy your dals from a source where the items move fast, Good luck for the next time.

    • 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.

  16. Pingback: To Buy or Not To Buy, That is the Question (Dal Fry) |

  17. Love this recipe, and so do my husband and one year old. Thank you!

  18. I made this today and it was fantastic. The only thing that I have a question about is my lentils were not broken down like yours. When I was at the Indian Grocery Store, I picked up whole Toor and stood there wondering the difference between whole and wet toor. Next time, I think I’ll get the wet one and try it as the lentils looked closely like yours. Thank your husband for a delicious recipe!

    • Hi mona, glad you liked it. To break the lentils down after they are cooked, we generally mash them with a wired whisk or there is a actually a special wooden spoon that comes to mash the dal. Soaking the lentils a bit before cooking also helps in breaking them down easily.

  19. Priya on 31 March, 2016 at 5:34 pm said:

    Wow!! made this dhal tonight and it came out SO well – getting the amount of water is usually tricky but this was just perfect! Thank you for sharing the recipe. I made this in a slow cooker and it took a little longer than 4 hours for the dhal to fully cook, but may be that’s because i opened it after about 3 hours to give it a stir – I didn’t have to do it I guess.

  20. Makana on 1 May, 2016 at 12:20 pm said:

    I made this using a HALF CUP of ghee! Way more than listed, but I’m guessing that’s about how much V uses. It’s some of the best dal I’ve ever had. Incredible. Saving this one for every time I make Indian food.

  21. Karen Ladislas on 15 June, 2016 at 3:53 am said:

    Hi, I want to try this recipe but I don’t have fennel seeds and I only have mustard grains that look kind of white, is there a problem or what can I use to substitute the fennel? thank you!

  22. Sasha D on 24 October, 2016 at 7:04 am said:

    Love this recipe! This morning I finally followed the recipe exactly as you’ve written, perfect wholesome and delicious. This month I’ve made variations a couple ways – once with a squash instead of the tomatoes (yum!), exploring varied levels of burned garlic. once I made it with more tomatoes and less peas, the flavor reminded me more of a tomato soup so I added a dallop of goat cheese (mmmmm!). Love how simple and versitile! Thank you for sharing

  23. sujatha Shekar on 20 November, 2016 at 3:20 pm said:

    Made this recipe and it was a hit! Thank you so much.

  24. Thanks for posting this. I was looking for the simplest slow-cooker recipe, without much compromise on taste, and this seems to fit the bill. I haven’t tried it yet. I noticed onions are not used and was wondering if that is deliberate or because you’ll do not like onions in this recipe or in general.

    • Hi Gurdas. Thank you for your comment. Well, the reason for omission of onions is because V never used to put it and since this is his recipe I shared it as is. Now when I make it, depending on how lazy I am, I do sometimes add onions, a little ginger, little sambhar powder, curry leaves and fresh green chillies instead of red dried. It increases the chopping work, but tastes amazing too. But when I am lazy, then I follow this recipe to a T.

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