easy masoor dal | split red lentils

Masoor Dal Recipe with step by step photos.  This is a creamy spiced Indian split red lentil recipe. It is so easy to make and is ready in about 30 minutes which is great for the busy weekdays. This recipe can also be made vegan by using oil instead of ghee to fry the spices.

This simple yet tasty recipe made with pink lentils or dhuli masoor dal is good for everyday cooking.

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masoor dal recipe, dhuli masoor dal

Masoor dal is another dal that is often made in Indian homes. There are a lot of lentils used in Indian cuisine in a variety of ways. dal is the generic term used for all lentils in India. Also the soup or stew like preparation made with any lentil is called as dal.

So there are many many variations of dal with different lentils being used. Each region of India have their own variations. many times I add these lentils with pigeon pea lentils (arhar dal) to make Dal tadka or combine it with spinach to make Dal palak.

These lentils are also used in combination with other 4 lentils to make Panchmel dal – a dal made with 5 lentils. Some people also add this dal in veggie dishes.

masoor dal
Since I often make dal, sabzi, roti or rice at home. So I make some or the other dal recipe almost every day and this masoor dal is one of those.

Serve the Masoor daal with some steamed basmati rice, pickle and papad and you have a comforting Indian meal. Even aside vegetable raita or cucumber raita or Indian veg salad can be accompanied with the masoor dal.

How to make masoor dal

1. Measure and keep all the ingredients.

making masoor dal recipe

2. Rinse ½ cup masoor dal (pink lentils) a couple of times in water. Then add the masoor daal in a 2-litre pressure cooker. Also add 1.5 to 1.75 cups water.

masoor dal, pink lentils

3. Pressure cook the masoor dal on a medium to medium-high flame for 5 to 6 whistles or till they become soft and mushy.

cooking masoor dal

4. When the dal is cooked, beat with a wooden spoon or wired whisk lightly. keep the cooked dal aside.

cooked masoor dal

Making onion-tomato masala

5. In another pan or pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil or ghee.

making masoor dal recipe

6. Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and sauté till they crackle and become golden.

making masoor dal recipe

7. Next add ⅓ cup chopped onions.

making masoor dal recipe

8. Stir and begin to saute the onions.

making masoor dal recipe

9. Saute the onions till they are light golden.

making masoor dal recipe

10. Then add ¼ inch chopped ginger. Also add 2 to 3 garlic which is crushed or chopped.

making masoor dal recipe

11. Stir and saute them for 10 to 15 seconds or till the raw aroma of both ginger and garlic goes away.

making masoor dal recipe

12. Add 1 green chili (chopped or slit). Also add 1 to 2 whole dry red chilies. Stir well.

making masoor dal recipe

13. Add ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder, ¼ to ½ teaspoon garam masala powder and 1 generous pinch of asafoetida (hing).

making masoor dal recipe

14. Stir and mix well.

making masoor dal recipe

15. Next add 1 medium-sized chopped tomato.

making masoor dal recipe

16. Stir the tomatoes and mix them well.

making masoor dal recipe

17. Saute the tomatoes till the oil separates and the tomatoes become soft.

making masoor dal recipe

Making masoor dal

18. Add the cooked masoor dal.

making masoor dal recipe

19. Mix well.

making masoor dal recipe

20. Pour 1 to 1.5 cups water. You can adjust the quantity of water as required.

making masoor dal recipe

21. Add salt as required and stir.

making masoor dal recipe

22. Simmer the dal for 6 to 7 minutes more on a low or medium flame till you get the desired consistency.

making masoor dal recipe

23. This dal is neither thick nor thin and has a medium consistency.

making masoor dal recipe

24. Add 1 teaspoon crushed kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves (optional).

making masoor dal recipe

25. Simmer for 1 minute.

making masoor dal recipe

26. Towards the end, add ½ or 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves. stir the masoor daal. Switch of the flame.

masoor dal recipe

27. You can also garnish with coriander leaves if you want while serving the dal. Serve Masoor dal hot with steamed basmati rice or roti or chappati.

masoor dal recipe

Few more Dal recipes

STEP BY STEP PHOTOS ABOVEMany of my recipes have detailed step by step photos and useful tips to help you make it easily and perfectly.

Masoor Dal

4.81 from 36 votes
This is a simple and easy lentil recipe made with pink or red lentils (dhuli masoor dal). It goes well with roti or rice.
masoor dal recipe
Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:15 mins
Total Time:30 mins
Course:main course
Cuisine:north indian
Diet:low fat,vegan,vegetarian
Servings (change the number to scale):4
(1 CUP = 250 ML)


for pressure cooking masoor dal

  • ½ cup masoor dal or pink lentils or dhuli masoor dal
  • 1.5 to 1.75 cups water for pressure cooking dal

for making masoor dal

  • 2 tablespoons oil or ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 small to medium sized garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, chopped
  • 1 to 2 green chillies, chopped or slit
  • 1 to 2 whole dry red chilies,
  • 1 medium sized tomato, chopped
  • ¼ or ½ teaspoon red chili powder (organic or homemade chili powder can be just ¼ teaspoon as they are very strong)
  • 1 generous pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • ¼ or ½ teaspoon garam masala powder (homemade garam masala powder can be just ¼ teaspoon)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 to 1.5 cups water or add as required
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) - crushed (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro leaves)
  • ½ or 1 teaspoon lemon juice or as required
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves for garnishing (optional)
  • salt as required



  • Pick and rinse the dal well.
  • Pressure cook the masoor dal in a 2-litre pressure cooker with 1.5 to 1.75 cups water, till they become soft and mushy. Pressure cook for 5 to 6 whistles on medium flame. 
  • When the dal is cooked, beat with a wooden spoon or wired whisk lightly.
  • Keep the cooked dal aside. If dal is not cooked, then add some more water and pressure cook for a few whistles more. 

making onion-tomato masala

  • In another pan or pot, heat oil or ghee. Fry the cumin seeds till golden. 
  • Then add onions and fry till they are light golden. 
  • Add chopped ginger and garlic. Stir and fry for 10 to 15 seconds or till the raw aroma of ginger and garlic goes away. 
  • Add green chilies and red chilies. Stir.
  • Add all the dry spice powders one by one including asafoetida (hing) and stir.
  • Add the tomatoes and fry till the oil separates and the tomatoes become soft.

making masoor dal

  • Add the cooked dal. Pour 1 to 1.5 cups water. You can adjust the quantity of water as required.
  • Add salt and stir. Simmer for 6 to 7 minutes more on a low or medium flame till you get the desired consistency.
  • This masoor dal is neither thick nor thin and has a medium consistency.
  • Lastly add kasuri methi and simmer for 1 minute.
  • Towards the end add lemon juice and 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves and stir. Switch off the flame.
  • You can also garnish the dal with coriander leaves if you want while serving. serve masoor dal hot with steamed basmati rice or roti or chappati.


  • The dal also can be cooked in a pot or pan. Just soak the dal for 30-40 minutes, so that they cook faster if cooking in a pot. adjust the quantity of water as required.
  • Adjust the spices in masoor dal as per your taste.
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Dassana Amit

Dassana Amitnamaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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68 comments/reviews

  1. wonderfully balanced. delicious as always. thank you for all of the wonderful recipes.5 stars

    • thank you for this lovely review and for the rating too. most welcome and happy cooking.

  2. Hi thank you for the lovely recipe. I tried it today. The colour, smell are beautiful. The taste is outstanding. I would definitely use this recipe again. Much love and God bless.5 stars

    • thank you safiyya for your kind wishes. thanks for the feedback and rating too. wish you all the best.

  3. I am a kenyan and have tried the receipe. Simple n the results are excellent. Next thing is how to teach my wife prepare it for us all n family. Goes well with steamed rice.
    Thank you for the recipe n b blessed.5 stars

  4. how much should i make for two people?? :-))4 stars

    • half the recipe ingredients for serving 2 people.

  5. Tried this recipe today.
    I don’t have enough words to thank you for these simple and tasty recipes which can be used in our daily cooking.It tasted so good with phulkas as well as basmati rice.5 stars

    • thank you winnie. everyday homecooked food is best and healthy too. yes masoor dal taste excellent with basmati rice and phulkas. thanks again.

  6. Wow!! Thank you for this recipe. My husband and I love Indian food and we are both vegetarians. I am new to Indian cooking but this was easy to make following your instructions. Awesome recipe and I know I will be making again.5 stars

    • Welcome Jane. Glad to know this. Thanks for sharing your positive feedback on masoor dal. If any doubt, then feel free to ask any query on recipes posted.

  7. One more very good recipe of yummy dal. Thank you.

    • welcome supreeta

  8. Thank you Dassana, its a really tasty recipe, my family loves it : )5 stars

    • thats nice to know tanusha. thanks a lot.

  9. Brown color of masoor dal ia because we use chilke wala dal…its not bcoz of adding garam masala..
    If you use without chilke wala dal..it will give you yellow color n love all ur recepies..my fav website4 stars

    • thanks deepika. when the reader had asked the query, i thought she had used husked dal (bina chilke wala dal) and i could not figure out why the brown color. agree with what you say. thanks for the inputs.

  10. I need to adjust the quantities of ingredients because I am pitta to the max. How can I do that? I used to copy-and-paste so I could remember what I changed the ingredients to but you’ve disabled that feature.

    What is your suggestion?

    • Don’t worry! I figured it out! I ‘Saved’ the recipe and there I can make the adjustments I need to make.

      I love-love-love your recipes. I have learned so much about Indian Food (he’s now my pretend boyfriend) and vegetarian eating in general.

      Hope your week is good!

      • fine parin. thank you much 🙂

    • parin i disabled the feature as many of my recipes are being copied. so to avoid content theft, i have to do this.

  11. You recipes are so good that when I first time ever cooked the daal, even my very fussy wife loved it, despite being partially jealous!!

    • thanks akbar for sharing positive feedback

  12. Hi amit dassana its a gud recipe shared.but i feel still there is scope 4 perfection.i think amit dalchini spoilz fragrance of other flvrs n spices.wht say?

    • there is no dalchini/cinnamon added in this recipe.

  13. thanks a lot Dassana…………your website is brilliant…………easy to understand recipes….well illustrated esp with photos……….
    May God Bless you both always with abundance knowledge….
    thanks and keep up this excellent cooking website.5 stars

    • welcome minder. thanks for your encouraging feedback and blessings.

  14. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, but it still came out really nice. My parents loved it too. This is the first time my dhal was successful 🙂5 stars

    • thanks zahra for sharing positive review on masoor dal recipe.

  15. Really delicious dal, everyone loved it!! Your recipes have always turned out great except tadka dal somehow didn’t turn out the way I hoped it would taste was very different:(

    • thanks suparna for sharing positive feedback on recipes. about tadka dal, if you had shared what went wrong then probably i would have been able to help.

  16. Made this for dinner last night and everyone loved it. I did adjust the spice levels to suit my family but that was the only difference.Thanks!5 stars

    • welcome jini. glad to know.

  17. I tried the masoor dhal recipe yesterday Dassana & it turned out perfect, it had a lovely colour. Have been busy for the last 2 weeks & haven’t got a chance to make anything from ur blog. But whenever I do get a chance, I try recipes only from here 🙂5 stars

    • thanks pavi for this positive feedback on masoor dhal. glad to know that you like the blog so much. keep visiting.

  18. Cooked something first time in my life and I did really well. Thanks to you guys… I rocked and you rock too 😉5 stars

    • welcome anish. glad to know this and thanks for this sweet feedback.

  19. Another delicious recipe! This was wonderful. I wish I had doubled it, everyone wanted more. However – My finished dal was much darker and more brown than yours – it was definitely not the pretty mustard yellow color in your pictures. Trying to figure out why… What temperature should I be frying the cumin seeds / onions? Are the tomatoes supposed to melt into a sauce, or just get really soft? Should I be cooking the tempering in a sauce pan or a skillet?5 stars

    • thanks kim. dal should have a nice yellow color. should not be brown or darker. frying can be at a medium temperature. the tomatoes do soften while sauteing and yes they melt too in the dal. either will work. if you plan to add the cooked dal to the tempering, then cook in a sauce pan. if you plan to add the the tempering to the dal, then cook in a skillet.

      • Garam masala can make dark colour

        • cari, if you add lots of garam masala then some color will change.

  20. I tried this recipe first time today, it turned out very well!

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe, I will repeat this recipe once again.

    • welcome pradeep

  21. Dassana, I’m just back from an Indian restaurant where I had masoor dahl for the first time and I loved it. I want to try your recipe I need to know what asafoetida (hing) is. Do I find that in Indian food stores? And does it go under another name?

    I also would like to know how long it keeps (refrigerated) once made. Can we freeze it?

    Thank you so much!

    • helene, asafoetida or hing is a dried resin got from the roots of ferula plant. you should be able to get asafoetida in indian stores easily. its just called as hing in hindi. there are twp types. one is in the form of a powder and the other is in a form of small rock like pieces . the powdered one is light and less pungent. the small pieces are strong, so just advisable to add a pinch in the food.

  22. I’m an ardent fan of your dishes, but this dal rocks! Made it for a dinner party and it was licked clean! Awesome! Simple but lovely taste!

    • Thanks for the feedback priya.

  23. hi dassana
    i am an amateur in the cooking field,i like your recipe.
    i wish to take cooking advice from you in future .
    i have a problem with boiling the rice,whenever i boil the rice it becomes very wet and meshed,would you please give me some tips about how to boil the rice perfectly.


    • firstly, soak the rice for just 30 mins. then drain it completely. now you can heat water till it boils and then add rice or mix water (at room temperature) and rice together and keep the pan on the stove. cover and cook the rice, till the water is absorbed. for 1 cup of rice which has been soaked, you can add upto 1.5 to 2 cups of water. this depends on the quality of rice. some rice grains get cooked in 1.5 cups and for some, you may need to add sometimes even 2.5 cups of water. if pressure cooking, then for 1 cup of rice, add 1.5 cups and pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles on high flame. a tip would be add about 1/2 tsp of oil or ghee or butter to the water+rice mixture. this prevents the rice grains from being sticky. add salt too while cooking the rice.

  24. Good one; mouth-watering

    • Thanks S.Rajagopalan

  25. I just made this and it turned out really well. Lunch tomorrow for my boyfriend and myself 🙂5 stars

    • thanks and welcome.

  26. Bummer, whenever we try making an Indian lentil dish, it smells like it has flavoured but it’s bland. Even from our friends grandmas recipie. Which we followed to a tee. Hmm. Can anyone help. Just made this one, and didn’t have a few ingredients. Do the chilies make this spicy? And where do I buy them.
    Can the other not common spices be found at bulk barn?
    Tnx a bunch. Would like to attempt this again with all the ingredients

    • yup chilies do make them spicy. but it depends on how many you add. as i mentioned before, in the absence of whole chilies, you can use the cayenne pepper. just increase the quantity depending upon the heat to 1/2 tsp or 1 tsp… 1 tsp would really make it more spicy and hot. i am not sure what is bulk barn. most of the indian spices and herbs you will get at an asian or indian store. you can also buy them online.

  27. Trying to make this for supper tonight as both hubby and daughter love lentil dishes . Can red chili powder be substituted for cayenne or reg chili powder that is used for chili? Also, don’t have either green or red chilies . Will it still taste good? I only have garam, for. Corriander, cumin seeds and turmeric
    Tnx. Sue

    • late in replying, but next time you can add add cayenne pepper as sub for red chilli powder. if you don’t have green chilies or red chilies, just use cayenne pepper. green chilies as well as red chilies give a bit of smoky flavor and heat to the dal. even with garam masala, turmeric, cumin seeds and coriander powder the dal tastes good.

  28. Dear dassana I am looking for vegetarian recipes using (summer) seasonal vegetables. Can you help me?

    • what veggies are you particularly looking for?

  29. I do not have access to a pressure cooker; how do I alter the recipe?

    • after rinsing soak the lentils in water for an hour. drain and then add the soaked lentils to a pot. add about 3.5 to 4 cups water to the lentils. add a few drops of oil and turmeric powder. cover and cook the lentils. if the water begins to froth and bubble, then remove the lid or cover it partly and continue to cook the lentils till they become mushy. if the water becomes less, then add some hot water. once the lentils are cooked, then follow the recipe.

      • Hi,
        I regularly cook mussoor daal as its super easy to make and no need of pressure cooker. I have noticed you have suggested soaking the daal for an hour. In my experience, i just rinse it a few times (no need for soaking) and then boil it in a vessel and the whole daal is well-cooked within 15 mins! I have been cooking it like this for the past 3-4 years. You can try it one day if you are pressing on time 🙂

        • thanks mriga for being generous with your helpful suggestions. i always cook masoor dal in a pressure cooker. i will try your method. thanks again.

  30. I just made this and it tastes wonderful!! Such great comfort food!! Thank you for sharing this recipe

    • welcome kelly

  31. 5 stars for this simple and lovely dal. i have already made this twice and this is sure to become a staple in our household! thanks so much!5 stars

    • thanks aparna for the five star rating 🙂

  32. one of the healthiest lentil 🙂 weekly once i prepare !