Monday, April 15, 2013

Masala Dal

Masala Dal
I LOVE Indian Dal - as a result, I have several recipes for it. This is one that we all enjoy, and eat fairly frequently. This uses a packaged Spice Blend available from the Indian Grocery sold under several brands. If you have a favorite brand, use it - if not, try a new one : )

Masala Dal
In a saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer about 20 minutes, or till done. (In CrockPot or Slow Cooker, this takes about 3 hours on high)
3 cups Split Masoor Dal (Also known as "Red Lentils" - which look Orange!)
Split Masoor Dal or Red Lentils
5 Cups Water

Make Flavour Packet (formally known as a "Tadke") seperately:
In a separate pan, Saute
A tiny bit of oil (about a teaspoon - you may use more if you like)
1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds, till they start to pop (or turn grey)*
Then add and saute a few minutes, till fragrant
2 teaspoons Minced Garlic
2 tsp dal masala (packaged blend of spices from Indian Grocery)
**Add "heat" if desired - a broken dry red chili or two, or a little cayenne, according to your tastes.
Then add:
1 T dry (or 2 T fresh) Chopped Cilantro
1 T Lemon Juice
Salt to taste (about 1 1/2 teaspoons here - adjust flavours at serving time)

Add Flavor Packet to Lentils just before serving.
Serve with Bread or Rice and Salad.
* Mustard Seeds can be popped just like popcorn - heat the oil, toss them in, and put on a lid to listen to them pop (they DO splatter hot oil, just like popcorn does - so be sure to use a lid! If your oil isn't hot enough when you add them, they might turn grey as they cook instead of popping. That's okay (even if not perfect) and they will taste fine. If they burn, however, toss them out and try again. Believe me, you will KNOW if they burn - much like popcorn - I don't have to describe the smell ; )
Make Ahead Tip: This entire dish can be frozen when finished - it freezes quite well. Sometimes I prefer to freeze just the cooked lentils & water, and freeze several different flavour packets separately, giving me flexibility at serving time. If you have a small freezer, you can make your Flavour Packets and freeze them on a bulk cooking day, then just boil the lentils & water on serving day - that makes it super-easy and almost instant, without taking too much time or energy on cooking day.
Tip for Dining with Omnivores: A dish like Chicken Tandoori can go well on the side here, without too much additional work.


  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Dahl! I've been trying to force myself to try and make it again but it's never the same - like the restaurants I have had it at! I'll have to try your recipe and stick to it! I sometimes stray and wander from my own recipes, even!! LOL :)

    1. Sadly, that special "restaurant touch" is too often ghee or heavy cream. My tastes have changed, and I actually PREFER it without that stuff. This recipe does turn out delicious, tho : )


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