Masoor Dal (Indian Red Lentils)

Also known as masur daal/dhal/dahl, it is another one of those ultimate comfort foods.  I could eat a big vat of it and not get tired of eating it.

I know this was listed on the weekly menu for Monday night, but I couldn’t wait.  Plus, Mondays are always a little crazy and I wanted to have time for some photos.  Not that the photos I took are all that great.  The lighting around the stove is just atrocious and one of these days I’ll have to invest in a flash.


The ingredients, minus the cilantro. Dal can be made in many different ways. I have seen stripped down recipes with basically dal and a little masala to more complex recipes. I looked at a dozen recipes and took what I liked to come up with my version. I like to used canned petite cut tomatoes, but you can use fresh ones as well.


Mix together the spices to make the masala. Chopped the jalapeno pepper and onion, grate the garlic and ginger. By the way, if you are using frozen ginger pieces like I am, it is easier to grate the ginger while still frozen.



It makes me cringe to put this photo, but I wanted to give a sense of what I mean when I say cook the spice, in case anyone was new to that concept. Basically add the spices to the heated oil and stir it around to release all the wonderful fragrance of the spices.


Ugh, another icky photo. Add the onions, peppers, the diced tomatoes and cook until softened and all the flavors meld together. Then add the dal and water and cook for about 20 or until the dal is tender. Throw in some chopped cilantro and serve with some basmati rice. You can puree some of the dal if you want a more creamy texture, but red lentils get pretty soft and mushy on their own.

Lentils are one of the healthiest foods and with a high level of protein, they are a great substitute for meat. After dinner, D stated that he didn’t feel the absence of meat. So, go try it out! I served the dal over steamed basmati rice, naan and a side of baby arugula salad. The nutty flavor of baby arugula goes very well with dal.
68.365 Masoor Dal Print

Masoor Dal

Prep Time: 10 mins      Cook Time: 30 mins

Serves: 6


1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon paprika (can use chili power for more kick)
extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, grated
1 inch piece ginger, grated
1 small onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 14.5 ounce can Petite Cut tomatoes, liquid drained
2 cups masoor dal (red lentils), rinsed
5 cups water
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste


Measure out the spices into a small bowl and set aside.

In a large pot or dutch oven on medium heat, add olive oil. When the oil starts bubbling stir in spices and cook for a minute. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add onions and peppers and stir until the onions starts to soften. Add in tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes start to breakdown and get pulpy.

Add in lentils and water and bring to boil. Turn heat low, cover and simmer until lentils are soft and tender, about 20 – 25 minutes. Stir in most of the chopped cilantro, reserving a little to garnish. Serve with naan or with basmati rice or both!


2 thoughts on “Masoor Dal (Indian Red Lentils)

  1. I was overwhelmed by the other recipes I found online before I found yours. Thank you for this recipe. The flavors seem what I remember from my favorite restaurant. The photos are super helpful. The ingredients are accessible. Appreciated it all, recipe, & presentation.

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