Garlicky Dal (Savory Lentils)

Recipe by kusum gupta
READY IN: 1hr 5mins




  • Pick over dry dal for grit; rinse a couple of times and drain.
  • Bring to boil about 3 cups water in a 2-quart saucepan.
  • Add dal to hot water.
  • Stir in salt and turmeric powder.
  • (Water can boil over when dal is added; lower the heat as needed.) Partially cover and simmer on medium heat until dal is tender, 30 to 45 minutes.
  • (Add hot water depending on the consistency desired.) Note: Split dal can be cooked in a slow cooker[2 to 3 hours] or in a pressure cooker for about 10 minutes.
  • To sauté, heat the oil in a small skillet on medium heat.
  • Add cumin seeds; as soon as they change color (few seconds), add garlic and onions.
  • Stir, sprinkling little water if needed, until onions are golden brown.
  • Add ginger and remaining seasonings (except tomatoes and garam masala); stir for a couple of minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and cook for another minute.
  • 5.
  • Mix the sautéed seasonings into the cooked dal and continue cooking on medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes until dal is thickened.
  • Add garam masala.
  • 6.
  • Serve hot, garnished with green coriander.
  • Optionally sprinkle lemon juice.
  • Variation 1: Use brown lentils, peeled yellow Mung, peeled light yellow Urad, or split dark yellow Toor (or a mix of them).
  • They take about 3 cups of water to 1 cup of dry dal and only 30 to 40 minutes to cook.
  • Variation 2: Use whole green Mung, whole black Urad, whole dark brown Masoor, whole yellow brownish Toor, or split yellow Chana (or a mix of them).
  • They take 3 to 4 cups of water to 1 cup of dry dal and longer to cook (about 1 hour).
  • (Takes 4 to 5 hours in slow cooker, 25 minutes in pressure cooker.) Healthy Alternative: Add some vegetable stock or 3 tablespoons of Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) when dal is half cooked.