Masoor dal recipe with video and step by step photos. Flavorful, tasty and nutritious red lentil recipe. Masoor dal is one of the most commonly used lentils in Indian cuisine. It is used by a larger population since it has the highest amount of protein compared to the other lentils.
Here is some quick info if you are new to this lentil:
What is masoor dal?
Masoor dal is a quick cook protein rich lentil known as red lentils. These have a high nutrition profile similar to that of meat. Hence eaten by many as a substitute to non-veg or meat.
What is red masoor dal?
Masoor dal comes in 2 varieties. One is the skinned and the other variety is the whole lentil. The skinned variety is known as red lentils or red masoor dal. The other one is known as the sabut (whole) dal.
Masoor dal is a quick cook lentil and can be prepared just under 20 to 25 mins. Most Indian homes use a pressure cooker to cook dal as it saves some time.
But it can be prepared in a pot as it doesn’t take much time. Any dal recipe can be prepared in various ways.
Whole masoor dal known as sabut masoor dal is also enjoyed by many people. The whole lentils have higher fiber so it is always good to soak them in enough water for few hours to prevent stomach problems.
I usually soak them for 3 to 4 hours, rinse them and pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles or until they cook up soft.
How to make masoor dal
1. Add ½ cup masoor dal to a pot or pressure cooker. Rinse it well a few times. Drain the water completely. Add 2 medium chopped tomatoes, 1 green chilli and pour water. You can skip chilies if you have young kids at home.
2. Pressure cook on a medium heat for 1 whistle. If cooking in a pot, cook until the dal turns soft. You may need more water to cook if making in pot.
3. When the pressure goes down, open the lid.
4. Mash the cooked dal to suit your liking – smooth or coarse. You can also add 2 to 3 tbsp water to bring it to a desired consistency. It will thicken slightly upon cooling. So adjust accordingly.
5. Heat 1 tbsp ghee. Add one after the other – ¼ teaspoons mustard seeds (optional), ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 chopped garlic cloves and 1 to 2 broken dried red chilies. You can also add a bay leaf or a sprig of curry leaves.
6. When the garlic turns slightly golden, add 1 pinch hing, ¼ teaspoon turmeric and ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder. If you like to flavor it up more, you can add a pinch of garam masala. Chili powder tends to burn quickly so pour this immediately to the dal. You may set aside half of this for garnish.
8. Keep the stove flame on a low to medium heat. Add salt and kasuri methi. Mix well.
9. Simmer for 2 mins and turn off the stove.
You can garnish with half of the tempering, sprinkle some finely chopped coriander leaves & lemon juice.
Serve masoor dal with rice or roti, some papads, pickle, veggie salad and curd.
I have shared one of the simplest ways to cook red lentils in this post.
However you can also cook this in combination with other lentils. I usually add a handful of moong dal to this which makes the dish slightly creamy and thick.
Compared to other lentils, masoor dal tastes bland so I do prefer to use some spices for flavoring. You can also add ingredients like garam masala, whole spices, kasuri methi or amchur powder to suit your liking.
Most Indian homes cook masoor dal using onions & tomatoes. However you can make your own variations by adding some spinach or palak & carrots.
I add them to the pot along with dal as they not only perk up the nutrition but also enhance the taste & texture of the dal. This way I can skip making another veggie dish for the meal.
Masoor dal recipe (Red lentil recipe)
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup masoor dal (red lentils)
- 2 tablespoons moong dal (optional)
- 2 medium tomatoes chopped & deseeded
- 1 green chili (optional)
- 1¼ to 1½ cup water (for 1¾ cups for IP)
- 1 tablespoon ghee or oil or butter
- 1 red chili broken
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds (optional)
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
- salt as needed
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 pinch garam masala (or ⅛ tsp) (adjust to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) or 2 tbsp coriander leaves
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice for serving
Stovetop masoor dal
- Add masoor dal & moong dal (optional) to a pot or pressure cooker. Wash it a few times until the water runs clear.
- Next add chopped tomatoes, water and green chili.
- Pressure cook for 1 to 2 whistles on a medium heat. If cooking in a pot, cook on a medium heat until soft adding more water if needed.
- Once the pressure releases, open the cooker.
- Mash the dal to suit your liking. You can make it smooth or keep it grainy. If needed you can pour 2 to 3 tbsp water to bring it to a consistency.
- Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a small pan.
- Add mustard, cumin, red chilies and garlic.
- Saute until the garlic turns slightly golden.
- Turn off the heat and add hing, chili powder and turmeric. You can also add in garam masala if using.
- Quickly pour this off to the dal. Time to add salt and kasuri methi if using.
- Mix and simmer for 2 mins. If using coriander leaves add them now.
- Squeeze in some lemon before serving. Masoor dal is ready to serve with roti or rice.
Instant pot masoor dal
- Press saute button on the Instant pot and pour oil to the inner pot.
- Add mustard, cumin, broken red chilies and garlic.
- When they splutter add tomatoes along with salt, chilli powder, hing, garam masala (optional) and turmeric.
- Saute for 1 min. Next add dal, green chilli and pour water.
- Stir well and deglaze to release any bits of food stuck. Secure the Instant pot with lid. Set the steam release handle to sealing.
- Optional :You can cook basmati rice together by placing the rice bowl on a long legged trivet.
- Press pressure cook button and set the timer for 7 mins.
- Wait for the pressure to release naturally. When the pin drops, open the IP.
- Stir well and add more salt & hot water if needed. Cook on saute mode to bring to consistency if needed.
- Squeeze lemon juice and serve masoor dal with rice.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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