What is masoor dhal?

Dhal (or dal) means lentils in the Indian language. Its name comes from its color which resembles that of soil or earth. The word “dhal” means seed/lentil in Hindi. So, masoor dhal literally translates into red lentil.

From where I live in Saudi Arabia, Indian and Bangladeshi recipes abound; one of the most popular is “dhal,” and when said, it refers to lentils, all kinds, and colors. To identify a recipe that has dhal in it, the way of cooking is added after the word “dhal,” as in “dhal soup,” or “dhal with tomatoes and coriander” which we are sharing with you in this post.

My family loves dhal soup, and initially, we were treated to it when we eat out, as I had not done it at home. Then I started loving dhal as well. At work, I would also be treated with dhal and flatbread for breakfast once in a while. So, my interest in dhal grew.  My version of dhal soup was born from my growing love for lentils and the ever-habit to cook from scratch.

 

Health benefits of masoor dhal

Masoor dal with coriander

Masoor dhal contains high amounts of protein, fiber, iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin, copper, manganese, selenium, molybdenum, iodine, chromium, and vitamins A & C. It’s low on calories but rich in nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, fibers, antioxidants, etc.

The nutritional content of Masoor Dhal:

  • Protein – 8 gms per 100 gram
  • Carbs – 4 gms per 100 gram
  • Fat – 1 gm per 100 gram
  • Fibers – 2 gms per 100 gram

 

How to cook masoor dhal

Masoor dhal can be cooked by boiling it with water or by a pressure cooker. Boiling takes more time, however, it can be shortened by first soaking it with room temperature water for at least 30 minutes.

1. Wash the soaked lentils thoroughly under running water until they become clean. Drain them completely. Keep aside.

2. Add oil along with cumin seeds followed by mustard seeds. Once the spluttering subsides, add ginger garlic paste, and green chilies. Fry until the raw smell goes off and the nice aroma starts to come in – you would love this. Add turmeric powder and salt. Mix well.

3. Now pour in the washed and drained lentils. Close lid and turn heat to medium until the masoor dhal is cooked.

Steps 2 and 3 works for both boiling in a pot or with a pressure cooker – the cooking time with the latter is a lot shortened.

How to serve masoor dhal

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

You may want to drizzle this with lemon juice to add a bit of sourness.

Indian Masoor dhal

Storing/Keeping leftovers

As with many cooked foods, masoor dhal can be kept in the same pot or in a covered container in the fridge for a couple of days and reheated before serving.

 

Masoor Dhal with Tomatoes and Coriander

Lentils cooked in tomatoes and spices and garnished with coriander.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Bangladesh, Indian
Keyword masoor dhal, masoor dhal recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 4 servings
Author Magida

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lentils red, yellow, or brown type
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 small onion diced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic and 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (or 2 tablespoons of garlic-ginger paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 medium chopped tomato
  • 1 or 2 dried red chiles or chili powder
  • fresh coriander for garnish

Instructions

  1. Boil lentils until soft, scooping out scum at the top, as necessary
  2. Heat oil in a separate pot, add cumin and mustard seeds, and cook stirring for a couple of minutes or until the seeds splutter.
  3. Add in the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft and golden.
  4. Add ginger and garlic, or ginger-garlic paste and cook stirring for another minute.
  5. Add tomatoes and cook until well mixed and the tomatoes are soft, followed by turmeric and dried chilies (or chili powder).
  6. Add boiled lentils, stir and let simmer over medium heat until well mixed, adding cups of water to your desired consistency. Add a teaspoon of salt, or to taste.
  7. Serve with steaming hot rice or freshly made flatbreads.

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