masoor dal recipe, how to make whole masoor dal or sabut masoor dal


whole masoor dal recipe – one of the easy and breezy dals i make at home is from sabut masoor – whole lentil dal (brown-skinned lentils which are orange inside).

this sabut masoor dal recipe is how we prepare at home. the dal is not thin nor thick but has a medium consistency. adding cream is optional but it does enhances the taste of the masoor dal.

whole masoor dal

the masoor dal can be relished with rice, rotis or even bread. you can also just have it plain like a soup.

the photos are also quick shots that i took. most of the food pics i take are always quick pics with minimal or no styling as the hubby is always waiting… i will have to keep him waiting more if i click photos lazily and keep on changing the styling and the angles.

masoor dal recipe north indian

so there i add the dal or curry in the bowl and just take some shots manually. thats it…..  in two to three minutes i have captured the food pics :-)

recipe of masoor dal

if you are planning to prepare dal at home then do check these dal recipes – masoor daldal makhani, dal tadka, palak dal, panchmel dal and chana dal fry.

whole masoor dal recipe below:

4.9 from 15 reviews
whole masoor dal – north indian style
spiced dal made from whole masoor dal/pink lentils
CUISINE: north indian
INGREDIENTS (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)
  • 1 cup whole masoor dal
  • 2.5 to 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste or crushed ginger-garlic (adrak-lahsun paste)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green chili, chopped (hari mirch)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
  • ½ tsp red chili powder (lal mirch powder)
  • ½ tsp punjabi garam masala powder or regular garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • 2-3 tbsp cream (optional)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • a few chopped coriander leaves or some crushed kasuri methi or cream for garnishing
  • salt as required
  1. pick and rinse the lentils. if you have time you can soak the lentils for some 30-40 minutes.
  2. or else just pressure cook the lentils with 2.5 to 3 cups water till they are cooked soft.
  3. heat oil for tempering the dal in the pan.
  4. fry the cumin first. then add the onions.
  5. now fry till the onions are browned. this is an important step in making this dal.
  6. you have to brown the onions as the browning gives a lot of flavor and taste to the dal.
  7. add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute or till the raw aroma of ginger garlic disappears.
  8. add the tomatoes and green chilli and fry again for a few minutes till the tomatoes become soft.
  9. finally add all the dry powders, except garam masala powder and kasuri methi. mix well.
  10. now add this mixture to the cooked masoor or add the masoor dal to the tempering... whatever suits you. mix well and add salt.
  11. simmer the dal on a low or medium flame. if the dal is too thick then add some hot water to get the right consistency.
  12. mash some dal with your ladle or spoon at the sides of the pan. this is done to get a creamier consistency.
  13. finally add the cream, punjabi garam masala powder and crushed kasuri methi. stir. switch off the burner.
  14. the masoor dal is ready to be served with some basmati rice or rotis.
  15. garnish the masoor dal with kasuri methi or cream or chopped coriander leaves.
if making masoor dal in a pan:
1. soak the masoor dal for 1-2 hours.
2. then use more water to cook the dal than what is mentioned in the above recipe. rest all instructions are same.
3. amount of extra water needed depends upon quality of the dal. e.g. if the dal is aged then it will take more time to cook and will also need more water.
4. cooking dal/lentils in a pressure cooker is easier and quicker.

{ 100 Responses }

  1. sana Khan says

    I have made the recipe exactly as per your instructions it came out very well thanks a lot. I want to ask one question can I do tempering first and add all the masalas and then add dal and pressure cook will it come out same or the taste will differ.

  2. Sumaya wasim says

    Very nice….I wanna prepare more of delicious north Indian recepies… Keep it cooking according to the steps mentioned here…easy n simple…

  3. Sushila says

    I simply loved this dal. The dal tadka was also lovely. Can’t wait to try the other recipes. :-)

  4. kiran says

    Hi dassana i tried most of your recipes and they are awsome. Thank u for sharing your recipes. This is really helpful for the beginners. Good job keep it up.

  5. Ashley says

    Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful recipes! For the first time I feel like the Indian food I make at home is as good as much of what I get in a restaurant…and so easy! This recipe has become yet another easy but delicious weeknight meal for me when I have “nothing in the fridge”!

  6. Tanu says

    I am sort of an ‘okay’ cook but oh this simple recipe makes dal so yummy! My hubby is so impressed with the taste, he insists on making every alternate day! It’s so simple and quick, I love how yummy it is and my hubby is a happy hubby! Thank you!

  7. Tanvi Verma says

    Hi Dassana,
    Wanted to ask you if there is a way to make this dal in a pan and not pressure cooker? Please let me know :)

    • says

      tanvi, you can make the masoor dal in the pan also. soak the masoor dal for 1-2 hours. then you have to use more water than what is mentioned in the recipe. rest all instructions are same.

      • Ashley says

        The lentils I have (basic ones from Walmart) say on the package that soaking is not necessary. I boiled them for about 25 minutes and they tasted delicious to me; of course this is my first time eating this dish, so I don’t know if I’m missing out….

        • says

          soaking is not essential ashley. i soak as the cooking is faster. the lentils should soften. if they have softened and have become smooth, melt in the mouth, than they are cooked very well.

  8. Tanvi Verma says

    Hi Dassana,
    I live abroad and recently made this dal while I had some foreigners home for dinner. They loved it and want me to teach them to make it. I just wanted to ask you if I can make it without the pressure cooker because I know nobody here will buy a pressure cooker ?

    • says

      thats nice to know tanvi. you can make without pressure cooker. just soak the lentils for about an hour or even two hours. then proceed with the recipe. you will need to alter the water proportion as more will be required that what is needed while cooking in a pressure cooker.

  9. Vanessa says

    Hi Dassana,

    Tried the masoor dal this morning. AWESOME. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. GOD BLESS

  10. appy says

    will it taste good if i use a chole masala powder or sambar powder or any other curry powder as a garam masala substitute??

    • says

      appy, you can use chole masala. but don’t use sambar powder or other curry powder. with the chole masala also the taste will change. but the chole masala is a good alternative amongst the options you gave.

  11. Mina says

    This recipe is for most the best to perfection. Anyone trying it for the first time need to search no more.
    give this a try!!!

  12. Heena says

    Hello there,

    Last night I was looking for whole masoor dal recipe and I found yours. I made it and it was a hit with my family. The kids and my husband loved it. I followed your instructions carefully especially about the part of frying the onions well without burning them. It always makes such a difference when one works with attention to all the finer points. Only the colour of the dal I made was slightly different but that was because I added a lot more of Amul fresh cream to it. It was very very tasty and I will definitely be adding this to my repertoire of easy everyday cooking.

    Thank you Dassana. Keep it up. Your blog is wonderful and was quite a life saver for me when I just wanted to grab a quick cooking dal out of the fridge and make a meal of it for my family.

    • says

      thanks a lot heena. glad to know your family enjoyed the meal. paying attention to the details makes a lot of difference whilst cooking. in fact something as small as mustard seeds if not crackled while tempering, dampens the flavor somewhere.

  13. lakshmy says

    Thank you so much for this recipe.My four year old son and my husband liked it so much that they are asking me to make it so often and they are not complaining for the same repeat recipe.thanks a lot.Easy to make and very healthy.

    • says

      welcome lakshmy. glad to know that everybody liked this dal recipe. you can also try other dal recipes too. my personal favorite is dal tadka or dal fry.

  14. Annu says

    Thanks Dassana for this dish!, my daughter loved it so much that for the 1st time she wanted me to pack rice with this dal for her school tiffin :-)

  15. Pallavi says

    Hi Dassana!!

    I am a big fan of all your recipes. You make it loo so easy. And evetthing that I have tried turns out so yummy. And 100 points to you for presentation! Thanks so much for taking time out for all this. I am sure its helping millions of people like me :)

  16. Harshita says

    Came across your blog today. I love the photography and recipes. And for a amateur cook like me, step by step images are life saving.


  17. Pam says

    you have made my husband and I very happy, so glad I found dassana’s recipe in your file. so very nice, I’ve impressed my husband I think. my onions were cooked with care and love….so pretty. thank you muchly! I will make this again, he said i must!

  18. anureit says

    My favorite.
    This is the first recipe I tried in kitchen after marriage.
    My husband called me back from office and said u should send more chappatis with this dal.
    In my office everyone loved it.
    You rock

  19. Hina says

    Love your pics! you are a talented photographer. Every other week I make this dal and you showed me a different way of cooking it. What I do I put everything expect onions in the pressure cooker and cooked it until it is tender. Then I fry onions until they are brown and put it on the dal (it always comes out delicious). Next time I will be trying your recipe to see if it taste different or even more yummier. Thank you Dassana.

    • says

      thanks hina. frying the onions and adding to the dal will for sure make it tasty. even i do this method sometimes. do try this method too.

  20. kanishk says

    I made this daal, and it was good ……. i made it for the first time since i am alone at home and was fed up with outside food…
    great taste and great recipe…..

  21. LAKSHMI says

    This dish turned out very yummy today…..before i could polish all the quantity I ensured to put aside some qty in the fridge for another meal :):):):)

    Would like to ask what other whole grams/dals would be suitable for this recipe ?

    • says

      you can make the same recipe with whole moong dal and even whole urad dal – with the black skin. with whole moth dal/matki also the recipe comes out well.

  22. nandu says


    I got it….looking at the pics, got excited and overlooked the step which mentions about Garam masala….sorry!! I tried it today, it was just awesome….

  23. nandu says

    Yummy dal with great pics….was wondering when to add the Garam masala?? I will be making this pretty soon….

  24. says

    Dassana I also have made same dal today as my mom makes quite similar to your barring cream … lovely and fresh pics!

  25. says

    Hi Dassana,

    Thanks for such yummy recipes. The good thing with your recipes is I do not have to rush to the grocery store each time, the ingredients are pretty much off-the-shelf.

    Can you please post a malai-kofta recipe. I have some guests coming for dinner on Monday (02/07/12) and I wanted to make malai kofta. The one I tried last time was a bit of a disaster :) so to speak! Thanks.

  26. suhani says

    i never had this dal but its looking so tempting that i cannot wait to try it..i like all kind of dals with rice..m sure it would go with the rice too..

    • says

      this masoor dal goes very well with rice. in fact just this dal, rice with sirke vale pyaaz (vinegar pickled onions) is yum.

  27. says

    this is perfect comfort food. i love the simple and crisp shots. i usually cook some hours before hubbs gets home, and some days go overboard with trying to find a setting, which i can never tell if its working:)

  28. muskaan says

    thanks for posting this recipe masoor dal is one of my favorite…………….. but have never tried this way ……….will surely give it a try………

  29. says

    Hey a typical punju dish, your pics remind me that I havent made this dal from long…dal fixed for tomm dinner.. :), we prepare it exactly the same way as you said not thin nor thick but medium consistency.