Masoor Dal

Masoor Dal

Masoor Dal Recipe

A very popular and commonly used lentil in West Bengal in India, the humble Masoor Dal or Red Lentils as they are known, is an integral part of Indian cuisine across India. West Bengal is known to prefer this particular lentil over the others.

In its whole grain form, Masoor is a brown or green coloured bean with red or pink inside. Of course, once you cook it, it is a yellow dal like any other. But the surprising news is that, its red counterpart is the preferred lentil. There are not too many takers for the brown whole bean variety. Although it is a known fact that the whole grain variety is easier on the digestion and fast to cook.

A tasty dal

Masoor dal has a slightly nutty taste to it. Once cooked with all the seasonings etc it gets a flavour of its own like no other. This dal can be made in many different ways. It can be added to rice to make a Khichdi or Kedgeree as many call it, it can be made on its own to go with rice. Masoor dal is best eaten with rice.


Masoor dal cooks fast and works well with spicy seasoning. It goes well with rice and a quick potato recipe as a side dish. Masoor Dal recipe deals with a typically East Indian Recipe which is very different yet very satisfying in taste.

Serving and presentation

Served hot with rice and a little ghee on it, Masoor dal makes for a wholesome meal. Add a side of potatoes, some onions and green chillies (if you are the spicy kind) and you have yourself a finger-licking lip-smacking yummy meal, perfect for a cold winter day.


Masoor Dal

A brief intro

Masoor dal requires soaking, as is the case with all other dals in the Indian family of lentils and legumes. Once soaked you can either precook it in a pressure cooker and then add the tempering and seasoning or then make it directly in the pressure cooker with all the tempering done while the dal is in its raw form. Pressure cooking retains the nutritive content of dal. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 200 kcal


The step by step recipe: You need the following…

  • 2 measures Red Masoor Dal
  • 1 onion, chopped small
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil

For the spice…

  • 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds (Saunf)
  • 1 teaspoon for nigella seeds (Kalonji)
  • 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds (Methi)
  • 1 teaspoons mustard seeds (Rai)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (Jeera)

Mix all together in a bowl and then use 1 teaspoon of the mixed spices. You can keep the rest in an airtight container for future use.

Let’s continue with the recipe…

  • 1 teaspoon of the above spice mix
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch sugar
  • 5-7 curry leaves
  • Green Chillies as per your taste
  • Lemon juice
  • Chopped green coriander

How to make

  1. Start your preparation by pressure cooking the dal for about 4 whistles or 8-10 minutes of pressure cooking time. If you like your Masoor Dal a little grainy then cook for a less amount of time. Adjust your pressure time to suit your liking. 

  2. Take a wok or saucepan

  3. Pour the oil in it and set to heat

  4. Add the 5-spice mix and wait for it to crackle

  5. Add curry leaves and onions

  6. Fry nicely for a minute or two till onions look a tad brown

  7. Add turmeric and tomato and cook till tomato is soft and done

  8. Now add the dal and some water and bring to a boil.

  9. Add lemon juice and garnish with chopped green coriander.

Your East Indian Style Masoor Dal is ready to eat. Serve Hot.


Points to note

  • The dal requires soaking before cooking. Keep all your ingredients handy before you start with the process of tempering your dal.
  • Its best eaten on the same day, but it does keep for a day or two. There may be some change in the flavour but not too much.

Nutritive content of Masoor Dal, Approximate values.

  1. Energy 120 Cal 6%
  2. Protein 7.3 g 13%
  3. Carbohydrates 17.7 g 6%
  4. Fibre 3 g 12%
  5. Fat 2.2 g 3%
  6. Cholesterol 0 mg 0%


  1. Vitamin A 94.9 mcg 2%
  2. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.1 mg 10%
  3. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.1 mg 9%
  4. Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 0.9 mg 7%
  5. Vitamin C 0.9 mg 2%
  6. Vitamin E
  7. Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) 10.8 mcg 5%


  1. Calcium 23.5 mg 4%
  2. Iron 2.2 mg 10%
  3. Magnesium 0 mg 0%
  4. Phosphorus 0 mg 0%
  5. Sodium 0.3 mg 0%
  6. Potassium 10.5 mg 0%
  7. Zinc 0.9 mg 9%


Remember the potato dish mentioned above. Here is a quick run through on how you can make this easy yet tasty side accompaniment to your Masoor dal.

You need…

  • 2 potatoes cut into small cubes
  • 1 teaspoon of that 5-spice mix that you kept aside
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • Pinch turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-3 tablespoons of water
  • Take a small wok or saucepan
  • Pour oil and set to heat
  • Add 1 5-spice mix and wait for it to crackle
  • When crackling, add pinch turmeric and mix well
  • Add potatoes
  • Add salt
  • Stir fry the potatoes on high fame till the edges of the cubes look brown
  • Once you see the brown fried edges of the potato cubes, add a little water, mix well, cover and let simmer on low heat till the potatoes are fully done.
  • Take off the heat, empty into a bowl garnish with a little green coriander and Voila! You have the perfect accompaniment to your Masoor dal and rice meal.

Nutritive values of this dish, approximate values

  • Calories 77
  • Total Fat 0.1 g
  • Saturated fat 0 g
  • Sodium 6 mg
  • Potassium 421 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 17 g
  • Dietary fibre 2.2 g
  • Sugar 0.8 g
  • Protein 2 g
  • Vitamin C 32%
  • Calcium 1%
  • Iron 4%
  • Vitamin B-6 15%
  • Magnesium 5%

1 teaspoon of oil has 39.8 calories. So, for the weight conscious, this is a nutritious yet non-fattening food. Enjoy!

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