When I think of home style Punjabi cooking, masra di dal (red lentils) is one of the first dishes that comes to mind. This quick cooking lentil is served frequently in most Punjabi homes with hot phulkas (roti/chappati), or over rice. It’s one of those dishes that I never get tired of, in fact, I usually make this at least once a week, and it’s my go-to lunch.
Masra di dal also happens to be my specialty. It’s the one dish I never mess up; it’s most requested by guests, and it’s the first Indian dish I learned to cook that tasted like something my mom made. I’ll never forget how surprised I was the first time I made a pot of this dal that actually tasted authentic – it was one of my proudest moments ever.
There is a twist to how I make this dal (which is why I think it tastes so yummy). I add two servings of garlic and ginger instead of just one tempering. Mom tells me it’s wrong to add so much tadka (tempering), but she never turns me down when I offer to send over some masra di dal, so I’m guessing she thinks it tastes good too!
If you are new to cooking dal this is the perfect one to get your feet wet with and gain some confidence in the kitchen. Serve it up with a side of rotis or jeera rice. Me I’m a dal and rice girl all the way!
The key to making any dal have that homestyle flavour is a really solid tadka. In fact, I think the whole trick to Punjabi cooking lies in having the perfect tadka/tempering. That’s why I made this video with all my top tricks and tips for perfecting it!
How to Make the Perfect Tadka for Masra di DalPrint
Quick cooking red lentils (masar/masoor) make this the perfect choice as a weeknight dal. Cooked in a traditional Punjabi homestyle.
For the dal (lentils):
1 cup of masar (red lentils) washed
5 cups of water
1 tbs ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
For the tadka (tempering):
*note – you can also use half a portion of my Punjabi tadka recipe if you have some in the fridge already
1 tbsp ghee
1 small onion chopped
1 chopped tomato
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 piece inch piece of ginger chopped
1 chopped green chilli (optional)
1/2 tbs cumin seeds
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tbs coriander powder
1/4 tsp red chili (optional to taste)
1/2 tsp garam masala for finishing
1/4 cup chopped cilantro for finishing
1. Wash your lentils 2-3 times until the water runs clear.
2. In a large stock pot add all of the dal ingredients – washed masar (red lentils), water, ginger garlic paste, salt, and turmeric. Bring to a boil.
3. Once the dal comes to a boil, drop the the heat to low/medium – the water should not be boiling, just lightly simmering. Check the consistency after 15 minutes. If it looks too thick, add a 1/2 cup of water. Cook for another 5 minutes. (Total cooking time 20 minutes)
4. While the dal is boiling, you can start working on the tadka (tempering). Heat the ghee on medium high heat, and add the cumin seeds. Roast for 60 seconds and then add the onion.
5. Let the onion sweat out and caramelize for 3-4 minutes before adding the garlic, ginger, and green chilli. Cook this mixture for an additional minute.
6. Add tomatoes, salt, red chili, and coriander powder. Cook this mixture until the tomatoes lose their moisture and begin to pull away from the pan, 2-3 minutes. For detailed directions on making a tadka, watch this video.
7. Add a ladle of your warm dal into the tadka mixture and deglaze the pan. Use your stirring spoon to collect any little bits from bottom of the pan, and then add the tadka mixture into the dal.
8. Add garam masala and chopped cilantro to the dal to finish, mix together and cook for 1-2 minutes.
9. Serve with hot phulkas or rice.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 25 min
- Category: dal/lentils
- Cuisine: Indian
- Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Keywords: masoor dal, masra di dal, red lentils