Masoor Dal

Masoor Dal

This easy Masoor Dal comes together in about 15 minutes from a handful of active ingredients and yet it’s a remarkably delicious and rewarding. Perfect for a meatless Monday.

Masoor Dal can be prepared in about as numerous ways as there are cooks who make it, which is why I’m going to inform you upfront that this is most likely not how your Indian mother/grandma/aunt makes it. For me, after making lots of pots of red lentils, this is the approach I’ve chosen for its balance of simplicity and taste.

With the assistance of a pressure cooker, this may extremely well be the meal with the very best value. It comes together in about 10 minutes but tastes like it’s been caramelizing and simmering throughout the day. For your pittance of effort you’ll be handsomely rewarded with a soul-satisfying bowl of lentils with an astounding amount of smile-inducing umami.

Charring ginger and garlic aren’t standard Indian methods as far as I know, however it’s a really quick method to create a bundle of taste, a technique I obtained from Vietnamese Phở. I also like the smoky notes it lends to the completed dal.

Throw these charred aromatics into a pressure cooker in addition to the lentils and a handful of other active ingredients, and 7 minutes later you’ll be rewarded with a rich creamy dal that’s loaded with so much taste, you ‘d swear there was pork hiding amongst the vegetables.

When cooked, the lentils are experienced with salt and a little sugar before being splashed with some tempered oil. Whether you utilize ghee, mustard oil or vegetable oil, the smooth dal is made creamier by including fat at the end, and the toasted spices punctuate each mouthful of dal, launching a different earthy taste with each crispy bite.

In case you’re wondering why I wait to include the salt till after the dal is prepared, it’s because salt tends to make beans take much longer to soften. You might likewise be wondering why I do not add any onions. Caramelizing onions properly takes a good deal of time, and these lentils are so flavorful without them, that I tend to leave them out the majority of the time. Still, if have a batch of frozen caramelized onions, it’s a quick way to include even more flavor.

My favorite method to serve this is with a couple of rounds of pillowy naan, and my friend Bee over at Rasa Malaysia has a wonderful Naan dish.

Yield: 2 serving

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Overall Time: 23 minutes

Active Ingredients

  • 30 grams

    fresh ginger( ~ 1-inch, sliced into 1/4-inch coins)

  • 20 grams

    garlic( ~ 3 big cloves)

  • 1 cup

    masoor dal( red lentils)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground turmeric

  • 200 grams

    whole stewed tomatoes( 1/2 small can)

  • 2

    fresh chili peppers( to taste, divided in half)

  • 1

    cilantro whole plant

  • 2 tablespoons

    ghee( or vegetable oil)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    cumin seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    black mustard seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    fennel seeds

  • 2

    dried chiles

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons


  • 1 teaspoon

    coconut sugar

  • 1/2



  1. In a broiler, or utilizing a torch, blacken the garlic and ginger and then add them to a pressure cooker.

  2. Wash the masoor dal till the water runs clear and add them to the pressure cooker along with 3 cups of water, the turmeric, stewed tomatoes (with juices), and chiles to taste.

  3. Thoroughly wash the cilantro, and cut simply the bottom parts of the stems and roots off including them to the pot (conserve the leaves for garnish).

  4. Cover the pressure cooker with a lid and bring up to pressure over high-heat. Decline the heat to keep a gentle whistle and cook the lentils for 7 minutes.

  5. When the lentils are done, put the pressure cooker in the sink and run some water over the lid to rapidly launch the pressure. Doing this will make a loud sound and will launch a lot of steam, so keep a safe distance. When the pressure has fully dropped, open the lid.

  6. Remove the cilantro root, garlic and ginger.

  7. Add the salt, sugar and lemon juice and change the seasoning to taste.

  8. In a little pan, include the ghee and heat until hot. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seed, fennel seed and chili pepper and fry up until really aromatic.

  9. Pour this mix onto the dal masoor and garnish with the cilantro leaves to serve.

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