Masoor Dal (Pink)
Indian Recipe

Like many dal recipes, this calls for a “tarka,” or spiced oil mixture added just before serving. The tarka adds an extra dimension of flavor for a truly memorable dish.


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1 cup masoor dal
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 teaspoon ground red chile
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tomato, quartered
2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
3–4 whole dried red chilies
1 bay leaf
~ cilantro, for garnish
*Masoor dal is available in supermarkets, Indian markets, or online at e-stores like and
  1. Combine the dal, water, turmeric, coriander, cumin, chile, pepper, salt, and tomato in a heavy-bottomed pan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Adjust the heat to a medium simmer and cover with a lid.
  3. Cook until the dal is soft—approximately 45 minutes; set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium-high heat.
  5. Saute the onion for several minutes until golden. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent burning.
  6. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Do not burn the garlic.
  7. Add the mustard seeds, red chiles and bay leaf. Cook for 2–3 minutes until the bay leaf is brown.  Adjust the heat as needed to prevent burning.
  8. Pour the mixture into the dal and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 3–4 minutes.
  9. Place in a serving bowl and decorate with cilantro.
Preparation Time: 
Under 60 minutes.