Spice Kissed Masoor Dal (Split Red Lentils)

Total Time
Prep 10 mins
Cook 25 mins

I love tasty food, especially when it can be made quickly and be made from ingredients I usually have on hand. I've cooked many recipes for dal over the years, eaten many varieties of dal dishes out at restaurants, and I'm always looking for the next best dal recipe that I can make at home. This is it!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a medium sized pot over medium flame, add 1 tbsp peanut oil, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp ginger powder, and 1 tsp garam masala powder. Stir spices and oil together, allow to fry slightly (when you smell the spices releasing their fragrance you're done).
  2. Add the dal and water to cover (by an inch or so), turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Skim off foam that forms on top and discard. Cover and turn the heat to low. Allow to simmer until dal begins to fall apart and is cooked through. While cooking, monitor the water level. If it is too low, the dal will burn to the bottom of the pan, so add more water. If the water level is too high, uncover the pan so some will evaporate. When done, the dal should be a porridge consistency--not watery, but not burning to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Heat frozen green peas (I usually defrost in the microwave with a few tablespoons of water), drain excess water, and add to cooked dal.
  4. Taste dal and adjust salt. Since you have not salted the pan yet, you may need to add a few teaspoons to tablespoons of salt. Add slowly--you can always add more but it is hard to get rid of too much.
  5. Make the tadka: In a frying pan over medium heat add the butter, 1 tsp tumeric powder, 2 tsp garam masala powder, and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes. Fry lightly until spices release their fragrance. Add the onion and fry for another few minutes to the softness you desire. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for another 2 minutes. Add tadka mixture to dal mixture and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  6. Serve Spice Kissed Masoor Dal over rice with yogurt, raita, red raw onions, cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes or other fresh vegetables of your liking.
  7. To read about dal, visit the wikipedia page at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dal.
  8. To read about tadka, visit the wikipedia page at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaunk.
Most Helpful

Thank you for the recipe. The only change I made was substituting frozen spinach for the peas I did not have, and the dish turned out well. I served it with rice and yogurt. I particularly liked the comments about using the aroma of the spices and the texture of the dal to gauge their doneness. I look forward to playing with this one.

BobWI April 02, 2013

I loved this recipe, but, as usual, I made some changes--my kitchen creative inner self just insists on this. First, after reading magpie's review, I decided to use fresh garlic and ginger in the lentils. Since I was chopping for the seasoning mix, it was easy enough to chop up a little more garlic and ginger. I used a combo of grapeseed oil and butter for the lentils, which I cooked until almost done, then added some light coconut milk, about 1/3 cup, and the salt. I cooked the tadka in butter, first the spices for about 30 seconds to release the flavors, then adding the garlic, ginger and onion all at once, and cooking until they were very soft. I added the lentils to the tadka, since it was in a large skillet, and easier to mix, corrected the salt level, with a bit more salt. I didn't have any peas and I omitted the red pepper flakes, by mistake, but Iiked the mellow flavor of the lentils without them. I served the dal with lightly steamed kale on the side, a big dollop of yogurt, and some mango chutney. It was a delightful dinner. Thanks so much, jo_mama, for a great, easy, tasty dal.

Suzy Snoflake September 12, 2011

This is a quick and easy recipe. I used a ratio of 2:1 for the water:lentils and it was perfect. The flavor and spices were just okay for us - it seemed to be missing something. I'm glad I tried it though. Thanks for posting!

zaar junkie March 20, 2011