Masoor Dal (Pink Lentils)

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Masoor Dal is a popular lentil based dish from the North Indian Cuisine and is often made in Indian homes.

masoor dal recipe, dhuli masoor dal

The dish is made with pink lentils which are known as Masoor dal in Hindi. Pink lentils are also known as red lentils and orange lentils. Note that these are not Puy lentils.

The Masoor Dal lentils can be split or whole and both types are used in the Indian cuisine.

The split and husked lentils have an orange-pink color. The Whole Masoor Dal has a dark brown color as the husks have this color.

In this post, I have shared 2 recipes made. The first dish is made with split masoor dal and the second dish is made with whole masoor dal.

  • Dhuli Masoor Dal (Split Pink Lentils) – Easy Vegan Recipe.
  • Sabut Masoor Dal (Whole Red Lentils) – Creamy and Spiced.

Both the recipes are shared with step by step photos and taste equally good. You can make either of them depending on the lentils you have in the pantry.

What does the word Dal mean?

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 has their own variations.

Many times I mix or combine different lentils to make Dal Tadka or combine it with spinach to make Dal Palak.

Another well known dish made with 5 lentils is Panchmel Dal.

About Dhuli Masoor Dal (Split Pink Lentils)

This is a creamy spiced vegan recipe of split pink lentils. These lentils are husked, split and have a pink orange color. These are also known as split red lentils.

The recipe is very easy to make and is ready in about 30 minutes which is great for the busy weekdays. I have cooked these pink lentils in a pressure cooker to save time. You can even cook them in a pan or in an instant pot.

This simple yet tasty recipe with pink lentils is good for everyday cooking.

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 fry is one of those.

Serve Masoor dal 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 (Vegan)

1. Measure and keep all the ingredients. 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

2. Pressure cook the split pink lentils on a medium to medium-high flame for 5 to 6 whistles or till they become soft and mushy. When the lentils are cooked, beat with a wooden spoon or wired whisk lightly. Keep the cooked pink lentils aside.

cooked masoor dal

Making onion-tomato masala

3. In another pan or pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and sauté till they crackle and become golden.

making masoor dal recipe

4. Next add ⅓ cup chopped onions. Stir and begin to saute the onions.

making masoor dal recipe

5. Saute the onions till they are light golden.

making masoor dal recipe

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

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

making masoor dal recipe

8. 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

9. Stir and mix well. Next add 1 medium-sized chopped tomato.

making masoor dal recipe

10. Stir the tomatoes and mix them well. Saute the tomatoes till the oil separates and the tomatoes become soft.

making masoor dal recipe

Making masoor dal

11. Add the cooked lentils.

making masoor dal recipe

12. Mix well.

making masoor dal recipe

13. Pour 1 to 1.5 cups water. You can adjust the quantity of water as required. Also Add salt as required and stir.

making masoor dal recipe

14. 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

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

making masoor dal recipe

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

making masoor dal recipe

17. Simmer for 1 minute.

making masoor dal recipe

18. 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

19. You can also garnish with coriander leaves if you want while serving the dal. Serve Dhuli Masoor ki dal hot with steamed basmati rice or roti or chapati.

masoor dal recipe

Few more Dal recipes

Note: This Masoor Dal Recipe is from the archives (July 2013) and has been republished and updated on 29th June 2020.

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masoor dal recipe

Easy Masoor Dal

4.87 from 45 votes
This Vegan Masoor Dal is a simple and easy lentil recipe made with split pink lentils (dhuli masoor dal). It goes well with roti or rice.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins

Cuisine North Indian
Course: Main Course

Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

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
  • 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

Instructions

preparation

  • Pick and rinse the pink lentils (dhuli masoor dal) well.
  • Pressure cook the pink lentils 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 lentils are cooked, beat with a wooden spoon or wired whisk lightly.
  • Keep the cooked pink lentils aside. If lentils are not cooked, then add some more water and pressure cook for a few whistles more. 

making masala base for the dal

  • In another pan or pot, heat oil. 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 vegan masoor dal

  • Add the cooked pink lentils. 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 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 this masoor dal hot with steamed basmati rice or roti or chappati.

Notes

  • 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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About Sabut Masoor Dal (Whole Masoor Dal)

This Creamy Whole Masoor ki Dal is a spiced and tasty lentil dish made from whole red lentils, onions, tomatoes, herbs, spices and cream.

Whole red lentils have a dark brown husk. This North Indian style recipe is easy and quick to make.

whole masoor dal, sabut masoor dal

This Sabut masoor dal recipe is one of the easy and breezy dals I make at home with these brown-skinned lentils.

It is a versatile lentil dish and you can add the spices as per your taste requirements.

The consistency of the dal can also be kept thick or medium consistency.

If you are serving the dal with roti then you can keep thick consistency in the dal. For serving with rice keep the medium or slightly thin consistency in the dal.

whole masoor dal

Note that adding cream is optional but it does enhance the taste of the dal. Usually I prefer to add cream as it gives a rich taste to the dish.

The masoor dal can be relished with rice, roti or paratha or even bread. You can also just have it plain like a soup.

How to make Whole Masoor ki Dal (Whole Red Lentils)

Pressure cooking lentils

1. Pick and rinse 1 cup whole red lentils for a couple of times in water. If you have time then you can soak the lentils for about 30 to 40 minutes after washing. Then in a pressure cooker take 1 cup whole red lentils and add 2.5 to 3 cups water.

whole masoor dal recipe, sabut masoor dal recipe

2. Pressure cook for 10 to 12 minutes or 3 to 4 whistles or cook till they are softened. Timing will vary depending upon the quality and age of the lentils.

whole masoor dal recipe, sabut masoor dal recipe

3. In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil for tempering the lentils. Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and let them splutter.

making whole masoor dal recipe

4. Then add 1 medium sized chopped onion . Saute till the onions are golden or brown. This is an important step in making this dal. you have to brown the onions as the browning gives a lot of flavor and taste to this dal.

making whole masoor dal recipe

5. Saute the onions till they become golden.

making whole masoor dal recipe

6. Once the onions are browned then add 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste.

making whole masoor dal recipe

7. Fry for a minute or till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

making whole masoor dal recipe

8. Then add 2 medium sized chopped tomatoes and 1 chopped green chilli.

making whole masoor dal recipe

9. Fry again for a few minutes till the tomatoes become soft and pulpy. You will also see oil releasing from the sides of the masala paste.

making whole masoor dal recipe

10. Then add ½ teaspoon red chili powder and 1 teaspoon turmeric powder.

making whole masoor dal recipe

11. Mix well.

making whole masoor dal recipe

Making whole masoor ki dal

12. Now add this mixture to the cooked lentils or add the cooked red lentils to the tempering… Whatever suits you.

making sabut masoor dal recipe

13 . Stir and mix very well.

making sabut masoor dal recipe

14. Add salt as required.

making sabut masoor dal recipe

15. Simmer the dal on a low or medium flame. If the dal is too thick then add some hot water or as required to get the right consistency. I have added about 1 cup of water to the dal.

making sabut masoor dal recipe

16. Mash some dal with a ladle or spoon at the sides of the pan. This is done to get a creamier consistency.

making sabut masoor dal recipe

17. Finally add 2 to 3 tablespoons cream (optional) and ½ teaspoon Punjabi garam masala powder. You can also use regular garam masala powder. The addition of cream is optional and you can skip if you don’t have. However, if you want a rich creamy dal then do add the cream.

making sabut masoor dal recipe

18. Next add 1 teaspoon crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves). Stir and switch off the flame.

making sabut masoor dal recipe

19. While serving, garnish the masoor dal with kasuri methi or cream or few chopped coriander leaves.

whole masoor dal recipe, sabut masoor dal recipe, easy masoor dal recipe

20. The creamy whole masoor dal is ready to be served with some basmati rice or rotis or plain paratha or lachedar paratha or rumali roti.

whole masoor dal recipe, sabut masoor dal recipe, easy masoor dal recipe

whole masoor dal recipe, sabut masoor dal recipe, easy masoor dal recipe

Creamy Whole Masoor ki Dal (Whole Red Lentils)

4.8 from 29 votes
This Creamy Sabut Masoor Dal is a spiced and tasty lentil dish made from whole red lentils, onions, tomatoes, herbs, spices and cream.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins

Cuisine North Indian
Course: Main Course
Diet: Vegetarian

Servings 3 to 4
Units

Ingredients

for cooking whole red lentils

  • 1 cup whole masoor dal (sabut masoor dal or whole red lentils)
  • 2.5 to 3 cups water for pressure cooking the dal

other ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste or crushed ginger-garlic
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green chili, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon punjabi garam masala powder or regular garam masala powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon cream (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon oil or ghee
  • a few chopped coriander leaves or some crushed kasuri methi or cream for garnishing
  • salt as required
  • 1 cup hot water or as required

Instructions

pressure cooking whole red lentils

  • Pick and rinse 1 cup whole masoor dal for a couple of times in water. if you have time then you can soak the lentils for about 30 to 40 minutes after washing.
  • In a pressure cooker take 1 cup sabut masoor dal and add 2.5 to 3 cups water. Pressure cook for 10 to 12 minutes or 3 to 4 whistles or cook till they are softened. Timing will vary depending upon the quality and age of dal.

making onion tomato masala for dal

  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil for tempering the dal in the pan.
  • Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and let them crackle. Then add 1 medium sized chopped onion.
  • Now fry till the onions are golden or browned. This is an important step in making this dal.
  • You have to brown the onions as the browning gives a lot of flavor and taste to the dal.
  • Add 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute or till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
  • Add the tomatoes and green chilli and fry again for a few minutes till the tomatoes become soft and pulpy. You will also see oil releasing from the sides of the masala paste.
  • Add ½ teaspoon red chili powder and 1 teaspoon turmeric powder. Mix well.

making creamy whole masoor dal

  • Now add this mixture to the cooked dal or add the cooked dal to the tempering - whatever suits you. Mix well and add salt as required.
  • Simmer the dal on a low or medium flame. If the dal is too thick then add some hot water or as required to get the right consistency. I have added about 1 cup of water to the dal.
  • Mash some dal with your ladle or spoon at the sides of the pan. This is done to get a creamier consistency.
  • Finally add 2 to 3 tablespoons cream (optional) and ½ teaspoon garam masala powder. The addition of cream can be skipped if you don't have it. For a rich creamy taste you can add cream.
  • Next add 1 teaspoon crushed kasuri methi. Stir well. Switch off the burner. 
  • Garnish the masoor dal with kasuri methi or cream or a few chopped coriander leaves.
  • Serve the whole red lentils with some steamed basmati rice or roti.

Notes

If making sabut masoor ki dal in a pan or pot:
  1. Soak the dal for 1 to 2 hours in water.
  2. Then use 4 to 4.5 cups more water to cook the dal. Then follow the recipe.
  3. The amount of extra water needed depends upon the 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.

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Dassana Amit

Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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76 Comments

  1. I can’t thank you enough for all your delicious recipes which came in very handy during the lockdown. They were simple to cook and so easy to follow. They tasted so good with both phulkas as well as rice. I must add my family really enjoyed my cooking all thanks to your wonderful recipes.

    Definitely a five star rating!!!

    1. Great to know. Thank you for sharing the wonderful feedback and I am glad to read them. Happy Cooking.

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