Lentils, Masoor/Red Lentils, Recipes
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Simply Delicious Tangy Masoor Daal in 30 Minutes

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I love me some daal. With rice, crunchy sourdough, chapati, quinoa, millet or just as is, like a bowl of soup. It can be my lunch or dinner, and if you are my sister—breakfast. Aside from the taste, the nostalgia, the comfort factor, I love the variety of daals I can make by simply changing a few ingredients or my cooking process. From adjusting the water content, the type or blend of lentils, the cook time, or the spices results in a new daal every time.

Cooking lentils is like a blank canvas waiting to be splashed with some vibrant colors. From Mondrian to Pollack, I choose the palette and then it’s all about the technique and having fun!

Daal means lentils—but daal is also the name of a dish.  With the large variety of lentils available, comes a gizzilion types of daals. Depending on the person’s region, what the cook feels like making, the type of lentils, the dietary restrictions, the spices, or the cooking technique—will inform the flavor of the daal. You never know what to expect when someone says they are cooking up daal. It can be thick and creamy, or thin and watery. Cooked with an array of vegetables, meats or be simple like the recipe I am sharing today.

Masoor daal (split and peeled) or red lentils, as they are commonly referred to in most markets, are my go-to lentils. They cook really fast, are tasty, easy to digest and they work well with an array of spices from cumin to rosemary.

This recipe started as on of those ‘this is what I have in my pantry’ dishes and now it is one of my staple daal recipes. I like making a big pot, and then enjoying it as a soup, with my favorite cabbage salad, greens, roasted beets and/or some grains. It can easily transform from a bowl of daal to a simple feast.

Simply Delicious Tangy Masoor Daal in 30 Minutes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium

Dosha: VPK Season: Fall, Winter, Early Spring Qualities: Moist, Warm, Soft Tastes: Sweet, Salty, Sour, Pungent, Astringent, Bitter What you need: a 3-4 quart heavy bottom pot, a small pot or frying pan or hand blender


Bring to boil:

  • 1 cup masoor peeled+split aka red lentils (soaked overnight or for 20 mins)
  • 4 ½ – 5  cups water

Hot Oil Infusion/Masala:

  • 1 1/2 T coconut oil or ghee
  • 1 T cumin seeds
  • 1 large garlic clove thinly sliced or minced
  • 1 medium ripe tomato finely diced
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 T grated ginger (or paste)
  • 1/3 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt

Finishing Touches:

  • 2-3 T lemon juice
  • 1-2 T  finely chopped cilantro with the stems


Step 1: Drain the water from the soaking pulses and them to a 3-4 quart pot with 4 ½ cups of water. Bring them to a boil, on high heat, uncovered. With a slotted spoon remove any foam that rises to the top (this will help support digestion). Once the foam has been removed, adjust the heat levels to keep the daal simmering without over boiling while the pot is covered.

Step 2. While the daal is coming to a boil, prepare the ingredients for the masala. Once the foam has been removed and the daal is simmering.  Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a small pot on medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the cumin seeds. Let the seeds lightly toast up about 20 seconds or so. Add the garlic and cook until golden. Then add the finely chopped tomatoes, grated ginger, salt, coriander and turmeric powders. Give it a good stir, cover and let simmer, until the tomatoes can easily be broken down into a nice sauce, paste-like mixture. Adjust the temperature if needed. About 7-10 minutes.

Masoor Daal MasalaStep 3. Once the masala is ready, add it to the pot of simmering daal. Prior to adding it, hand blend the daal, if you want a smoother and creamier texture. Otherwise, add the tomato mixture and continue to cook. The daal is ready when the masoor has dissolved completely and all the flavors have melded together. Total time is about 30 minutes depending on altitude.

Step 4. Taste for salt and then turn off the stove.  Add the lemon juice and cilantro.  Serve and enjoy.

Tips: If the daal is too thin, when you add the masala, simmer with the lid removed. If it’s too thick for, add a little bit of hot water. I prefer a thinner daal, as when serving it with a grain it makes the meal less heavy.  The water tends to separate from this daal, when it sits for a while,  give it a good stir prior to serving.

Simply Delicious Masoor Daal in 30 MinutesEnjoy:

  • with basmati rice (good for vata and pitta constitutions)
  • as a light dinner (good for kapha constitutions)
  • with your favorite grain, a crunchy salad, and some cooked greens for lunch
  • with some roasted beets, mango pickle, or sweet potatoes

Notes: After speaking with a few friends, I made a slight adjustment to this recipe—mainly changing the cooking process. I think this method will help result in the expected outcome, especially for the novice daal cook. There are many methods of making daal, I use both the older version and this version, do what works best for you.


  1. Illy says

    Loved this recipe – First time cooking daal. It was easy to follow and a hit with my guests!

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  5. I would recommend adding 1 small diced onion instead of tomatoes ( i make this w.out tomatoes as well) and frozen cilantro is fine. I have also used oregano and rosemary, its creates more of a fusion dish, but I like it ( and a little bit goes a long way) you can add it in the pot versus a garnish and both herbs require a bit more heat to release their oils. If you can opt for fresh is energetically better for you :-). Thank you for your question.

  6. Okay, so I would usually use fresh tomatoes and cilantro, but they are past their season in the Northwest. So, can I use canned, diced tomatoes and frozen cilantro?

  7. If the oil gets too hot it begins to smoke and the garlic and spices will burn right away. Plus, the oil will become rancid. When the oil becomes warmer, you will see it’s consistency change. It will become thinner. This is a sign the oil is warming up. When you add the spices, it will begin to sizzle right away and start toasting slowly. It takes practice – approach this like sauteing onions. The most important thing is to prevent the oil from smoking. Hope this helps.

  8. Anonymous says

    Yum! Will try it! Can you tell me more specifically what you mean by “don’t let the oil get too hot”? What should I look for/avoid?

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