One-Pot Wonders

Masala Dal

September 18, 2020
0 Ratings
Photo by MasalaMama
Author Notes

Cooked lentils mixed with a tadka or spices sizzled in hot oil. Super easy to make, it’s healthy, comforting and delicious. Dal is served with almost every Indian meal and one never tires of it. Great with dishes made with Masala Mama sauces. —MasalaMama

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • For the dal and tadka:
  • 1 cup red lentils (split masoor), rinsed well and soaked in water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoons curry powder (recipe below)
  • 1-2 Thai green chilis or 1 Serrano or ½ jalapeño, chopped (optional, for additional heat)
  • 1 medium onion, cubed
  • 1 inch pieces ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • 2-3 plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped, about 1¼ cups fresh or ¾ cup canned
  • 1-2 Thai green chilis or 1 Serrano or ½ jalapeño, chopped (optional, for additional heat)
  • teaspoons curry powder (recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil or olive oil
  • teaspoons whole cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3-4 medium cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • Salt to taste
  • Curry Powder Blend for Vegetables, Lentils, etc.
  • 1 teaspoon coriander (coarse ground if available)
  • ¾ teaspoons turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoons red chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoons Asafoetida
  • ¼ teaspoons Garam Masala
In This Recipe
  1. For the curry powder: Place all the spices in a small bowl and mix together. To store, place in an airtight container.
  2. Strain lentils and transfer to a heavy pot along with 3 cups of water. Cook the lentils on high heat, uncovered at first, and do not stir. Skim off and discard any froth that forms on the surface of the water.
  3. Add onion, ginger, tomatoes, green chilis (if using), curry powder and 1 tsp salt.
  4. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium, partially cover, and let boil until the lentils are cooked, about 30 min. Keep an eye on it, as the lentils have a tendency to overflow and create a mess. Add ½ to 1 cup more water if the lentils absorb liquid too quickly. It should have the consistency of thick pea soup.
  5. Heat ghee or oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot and shimmering (it’s very important that the ghee or oil is hot) add cumin seeds and bay leaves. The spices should pop almost immediately. Let it sizzle until you see the spices getting darker, 30-60 seconds.
  6. Add garlic and cook just until the garlic begins to brown around the edges.
  7. Immediately add the tadka to the cooked dal and stir.
  8. Adjust salt to taste, garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot.

See what other Food52ers are saying.