Healthy Masoor Dal Recipe, all from scratch and ready within minutes!
This easy dal recipe is a one-pot vegan Indian main course meal.
The lentils are briefly soaked and the recipe doesn't require a pressure cooker.
What is masoor dal?
Masoor Dal is an Indian curry prepared with orange-red split lentil, which are also called masoor dal (मसूर दाल).
Dal is hindi and means lentil. Sometimes it's spelled as daal or dahl.
When cooked, the split lentils turn yellow but they are orange-red when dried.
Brown Masoor dal lentils are the unpeeled and unsplit orange-red masoor dal lentils.
The red split lentils cook faster because they hardly need soaking and cooking time to get soft as they have been peeled and reduced in size.
In India, masoor dal can appear in various forms on menu cards. I.e Dal tadka. Several variations of this dish exist between regions.
How to make masoor dal?
This plant-based red lentil dal is a goan recipe variations and it's prepared in one pot over the stovetop.
Here are the basic steps outlined to make it from scratch. That should help you decide if you want to make it tonight!
Complete recipe card with details is located at the bottom of this post.
Soak lentils for 20 mins to speed up cooking time.
Prep onion, tomato and green chili. Keep spices ready.
Sautee spices and vegetables and add soaked lentils.
Cover with broth.
Cook lentils over medium heat until they are soft and you are satisfied with the consistency and flavor intensity.
We love our spicy lentils with cooked rice or flatbread in a bowl.
Masoor dal curry can also be part of a thali.
A thali is a platter consisting of various small quantities of dishes.
That may include rice, a curry, different cooked vegetables (called sabzi, bhaji or other names) and curds to just name a few.
In Goa they even add fried fish to a thali or pickled fish (called para). In fact, masoor dal is best served over cooked rice and with some pickled fish.
I like to prepare a larger quantity, which I then batch into smaller quantities and freeze in freezer-friendly containers.
Masoor dal tastes even better days later when you warm it up again! Making it a great leftover dish.
Keep leftovers in a fridge friendly container for up to 4 days.
To reheat fridge cold or frozen dal, place into a pot and keep over a slow heat setting. Stir occassionaly and serve hot.
Yes! Masoor dal split (red/orange lentils) are easily digested and these lentils contain less fiber than other lentil varieties which makes them easier to digest. Perfect for Babies older than 9 months. Reduce the spices and omit the chili and puree the red lentils for baby consumption. Indian babies are given spicy food too, so you can try feeding your baby with a very small amount of spice such as turmeric and coriander.
No, you can not eat uncooked raw lentils, except if the lentils have sprouted. Raw lentils are like raw potatoes when eaten raw, they need to be cooked because we can't digest them.
Split Pigeon Peas (toor dal) and Khesari Dal are yellow and resemble masoor dal. Masoor dal is always orange-red in stores.
More Recipes like that
- Aloo Gobi - Potato Cauliflower Curry
- Snake Gourd Stir Fry - Great to add to your thali
- Chapati flatbread
The post, Masoor Dal was first published under Goan Dal Curry on the 12th August 2011 and has been updated and enhanced ever since.
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Masoor Dal Recipe
For the masoor dal
- ¾ cup Red Lentils aka Masoor Dal
- 1 medium Onion sliced
- 1 Tomato diced
- 1 Green Chili Pepper fresh, chopped
- 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Brown Mustard Seeds
- 1-2 Tablespoons Tomato Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Ginger + Garlic *see Notes
- 4 Curry Leaves fresh if possible or dried otherwise
- 1 Teaspoon Turmeric Ground
- ½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper ground
- pinch Salt
- 3 cups Vegetable Stock
- Cilantro aka Coriander, fresh chopped
- Cover masoor lentils with water and soak for 20-25 minutes.
- Prep vegetables. Slice onion, dice tomato and chop green chili pepper.
- Keep spices ready at the side.
- Heat up a pan with olive oil, temper mustard seeds for 1 minute or until you can smell the nutty aroma. (mustard seeds will pop up so be careful and control the heat/use a lid)
- Sautee onion, tomato and green chili pepper.
- Strain soaked lentils. Keep a slow heat setting and stir soaked lentils and tomato sauce to the pot.
- Season with curry leaves ginger+garlic, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper powder, and salt.
- Pour stock over the lentils and increase heat setting to medium-high. Stir to combine ingredients.
- Cook on medium to high heat for about 15 mins, stirring occasionally so that nothing burns on. If you feel your masoor dal needs more water, then just add a little more to adjust the curry consistency (sometimes depends on the quality and age of the lentils).
- The dish is ready when the lentils are cooked, but not mushy.
- Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro (Coriander)
- For the Ginger + Garlic, use ginger garlic paste or chop ⅓ ginger and ⅔ garlic fine.
- You need to use black mustard seeds (never the yellow mustard seeds) and add curry leaves (and not curry powder as it's something completely different). Don't omit these ingredients, they make this curry amazing!
- You may adjust the cayenne pepper heat.