Simple Masoor Dal – Indian Lentils Recipe


Dal (pulses/legumes) can be made as simple or as complicated as possible. A simple Dal recipe mainly calls for pulses, tomatoes, onions and cumin.  Though this recipe talks of Masoor Dal (Orange Lentils),  it can be replaced by any other Dal like, whole or split Moong  Dal(Mung Bean), Tuvar Dal (Pigeon Pea) etc. However, the cooking time for different Dal vary. Dal that take longer to cook can be soaked for a couple of hours to let them soften and speed up cooking. Masoor Dal is one of the fastest cooking Dal and most commonly used as lentils in America.



2 cups masoor dal
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 – 3 tbsp refined oil
1 large onion finely chopped
1tsp dry roasted and crushed cumin, or 1 1/2 tsp whole cumin
1tsp garlic finely chopped
1tsp ginger finely grated
2 –3 green chilies finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely diced
couple of sprigs of cilantro finely chopped
salt to taste

Optional Final Seasoning
2 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp of cumin


  • Heat oil in a pan, add, cumin and onions and sauté until onions are slightly caramelized.
  • Add crushed ginger and garlic and continue to sauté until oil separates.
  • Add tomatoes , green chilies and turmeric and sauté until tomatoes are mushy.
  • Rinse Dal thoroughly and add to the mixture in the pan.
  • Add 3 –4 cups of hot water, close the pot with a lid and let it cook. Stir occasionally. (I do this in a pressure cooker and allow it to whistle twice)
  • When the dal is cooked the mixture gets creamy and thick. Add more hot water based on desired consistency.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro
  • Serve with Rice or Indian Breads.
  • Before garnishing with cilantro, to increase flavor roast 1 tsp of cumin  in 2 tsp of hot ghee and pour over Dal to season.


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