Masoor Dal Tadka (Red Lentils)

Dal or dried split pulses is a staple food in Indian households. A majority of Indian households will have dal in some shape or form at least once a day. It is especially important because most Indians are vegetarians.

Masoor dal like all lentils is a rich source of vitamins, protein and nutrients like calcium and magnesium which is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and bones. It is low in glycemic index and prevents sudden spikes in blood sugar level. It is easy to cook and requires no prior preparation or soaking like most other kinds of dal. One cup of masoor dal has 230 calories, 15 grams of dietary fibre and 17 grams of proteins. That makes it a powerhouse of nutrition. This is a vegan, gluten free recipe that is done within minutes and requires absolutely 0 expertise. It is simple to put together as well. You boil the dal separately and add the tadka on top and that’s it, you’re done. @sarchakra

PREP TIME: 0 mins

COOK TIME: 15 mins

YIELDS: Serves 4


  • Masoor dal (red lentils) 1 cup
  • Salt
  • Mustard oil 1 tbsp
  • Whole red chilies 1
  • Nigella (kalonji) seeds 1 tsp
  • Garlic 3 cloves, finely chopped
  • Asafetida (hing) a pinch
  • Black mustard seeds 1 tsp
  • Paprika 2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds 1 tbsp


  • Rinse masoor dal a few times. Put dal in the pressure cooker with salt and 3 cups of water. Pressure cook for 1 whistle. Within 1 minute release the pressure.
  • In a small pan heat mustard oil. Temper nigella seeds, black mustard seeds, asafetida, red chilies, chopped garlic and cumin seeds. When they turn aromatic and start spluttering, add paprika and stir. Turn the heat off.
  • Pour tadka on the dal. Serve with rice or roti.


Cooking masoor dal in the pressure cooker is a bit tricky. Make sure to release the pressure almost immediately after one whistle. It will get too mushy if left to release pressure by itself as it cooks really quickly. Alternatively cook this dal on a stove top in a pan. This should take around 15 minutes.

Did you know?

Masoor Dal in Indian mythology is associated with Kamadhenu’s blood. Kamadhenu was the divine bovine-goddess in Hinduism . Described as Surabhi (the fragrant one) or Gou Mata, the mother of all cows with miraculous qualities, she granted wishes for her owner. According to the legend, Kamdhenu was with Rishi Jamadagni. Emperor Sahastrarjun, who ruled the kingdom of Mahismati (Maheshwar in the state of Madyapradesh, India) was a well-known Kshatriya warrior. He tried to steal Kamdhenu and attacked her with arrows. It is believed that the mansoor plant grew wherever Kamdhenu’s blood fell. Hence, according to Hindu scriptures, consuming masoor dal is considered bad.

Masoor Dal cooked with onions and garlic is also considered to be ‘tamsik bhojan‘. Interestingly all that we know as ‘refined food’- from cereals, oils or hydrogenated foods, beverages like tea, coffee, soft drinks, fast food like burgers, pizzas, pastries, and chocolates, as well as intoxicants like tobacco and alcohol fall under the category of ‘tamasik’ foods.

Add on the boiled dal
Masoor Dal Tadka

Love dal? Try Kumro Shaag Diye Mung Dal (Mung Dal with Pumpkin Leaves), Toor Dal (Pigeon Split Peas) with Beet Greens and Vegetables, Moth Beans Dal with Fenugreek (Methi Matki).

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