HomeComfort Food RecipesMasoor Dal Tadka (Indian Split Red Lentil Dal)

Masoor Dal Tadka (Indian Split Red Lentil Dal)

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Restaurant-Style Masoor Dal Tadka (Indian Split Red lentil Dal tempered with whole spices) is easy and quick to make, super comforting, creamy, and oh so flavorful! Glutenfree Soyfree Nutfree

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Fans of dals will love this creamy Restaurant Style Masoor Dal Tadka!

Dal (also spelled as dhal or daal or Dahl) is one of my favorite meals – versatile, healthy, filling, and deliciously warming on a cold day.

Masoor dal is split red lentils, which are popular and easy to find at many grocery stores in the US. They are cheap and cook quickly making them a great choice for a simple weeknight meal. Red lentils are also available whole and they will work as well. Just cook a few minutes longer.

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Dal can be made thick,or thin and soupier, and you can use any kind of lentil. The tadka or tempering adds layers of complex flavors to the dal. The tempering can be mixed in into the dal or just drizzled on top.

This restaurant style version has not one but two tadkas or tempering to infuse with a lot of flavor. A small amount of  yogurt adds tang and brings the flavors together. A pinch of cloves brings out the garlic and savory flavor. This dal is going wow everyone! You can make this a thinner Dal with additional water or non dairy milk and serve it as a warming soup!

Is Dal a soup or a curry?

You will often find Dals translated into English either as soups or curries. I would say they are more a soup than a curry, but also neither. Dals are Dals. Different types of lentils and beans cooked with and without added veggies or ingredients and tempered with whole or ground spices or just aromatics.

A general everyday Dal does not have any added cream or coconut milk. Split lentils will cook to a soft state and get creamy. Or if you like them less broken down, then cook a few mins less. Dals like Dal makhani have some added cream. Restaurants might add additional butter or sometimes cream to make Dals more appealing.

As with ethnic cuisines the translations don’t always do justice. Indian Dals are often called lentil curry, which seems to be a logical translation. But lentil curry is also a term used for lentils cooked  with curry powder (which isn’t Indian) and coconut milk. The creamy, higher fat, slightly sweet lentil curry is different from(and often loved more compared to) a lighter lentil and water based and spiced Dals. Dals are savory, light and just Dals.

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Vegan Dal Recipes:

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5 from 10 votes

Vegan Masoor Dal Tadka Indian Split Red Lentil Dal

Restaurant-Style Masoor Dal Tadka (Indian split Red lentil Dal tempered with whole spices) is easy and to make, super comforting, creamy, and oh so flavorful! Glutenfree Soyfree nutfree coconutfree
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: masoor dal
Servings: 4
Calories: 222kcal
Author: Vegan Richa

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (180 g) split red lentils , masoor dal
  • 3 cups (709.76 ml) water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

For the first tempering:

  • 1 teaspoons oil
  • 1 medium-size red onion thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt or 2 tablespoon coconut cream

For the second tempering:

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 hot indian green chilies or serrano pepper slit or sliced or use 2 dried red chili instead or use mild chilies of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves kasuri methi
  • 1 garlic clove julienned
  • 1/2 inch ginger thinly sliced or julienned
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • a good pinch of ground cloves
  • cilantro and lemon juice for garnish

Instructions

  • Make your dal: Wash the lentils really well then soak in water for 10 minutes. Drain then add to a saucepan with the water, salt, and turmeric and cook over medium heat until the lentils are cooked to preference. Partially cover and cook so that the water doesn't completely evaporate. You can add more water after 15 minutes if the lentils are too thick. Depending on your stove and saucepan, you'll need 15-20 minutes for the lentils to cook.

    Instant Pot: To cook the lentils in an instant pot, pressure cook for 3 minutes, then quick release after 10 mins.

  • Make the first tempering: In a medium skillet, add the oil, add the onion and garlic and a good pinch of salt and cook until the onion is golden brown. You can add few drops of water in between to deglaze if the onion is starting to scorch too much or sticking to the pan.
  • Once the onion is golden brown, transfer half of the mixture to another bowl to use as garnish later. Add in the ginger, coriander, cumin and mix well.
  • Cook for a minute then add your tomato and 2 tablespoons water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well and cook until the tomato is tender.
  • Mash the large pieces and add in 1 tablespoon yogurt or 2 tablespoons of non-dairy cream such as cashew cream or coconut cream and mix in.
  • Then mix the cooked dal in this tempering and bring to a boil. Taste and adjust salt and flavor. (Adjust consistency at this point to preference. Add more water for thinner dal and bring to just about a boil ) Transfer the masoor dal to your serving dish.
  • Now make the second tempering: heat the oil in a small skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and wait for the cumin seeds to change color and get fragrant. You should smell toasty cumin seeds far and wide!
  • Add the bay leaves, green chilies, kasuri methi, ginger, garlic, and mix well and cook until the green chilies and garlic are somewhat golden.
  • Add in the paprika, ground cloves, mix in and take off heat.
  • Add the reserved caramelized onion as well and swirl it in. Drizzle the tempering all over the dal in the serving dish.
  • Garnish with some cilantro and some lemon juice if needed. Serve with some Gobi aloo (cauliflower potatoes), bhindi masala (okra), cabbage, or poriyal (spiced green bean carrot ) . Serve with Naan or Glutenfree flatbread or basmati rice.

Notes

  • Lentil subs: You can use other split Dals or a mix of Dals as well. Use petite yellow lentils (moong dal -will take 25 mins to cook in saucepan and 8 mins in instant pot), or split pigeon pea( toor dal – 35 mins in saucepan and 10-14 in instant pot), split black gram lentils (Urad dal, 25 mins saucepan, 4 mins instant pot) . Whole red lentils will take 25 mins in saucepan and 6 mins in instant pot
  • No Onion Garlic: use zucchini instead of onion. Julienne it and let it get golden on some edges. Omit the garlic and add a pinch of asafetida (hing) or add 1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves 
  • Scale up: This recipe is easily double or tripled. You’ll need a tad less water to cook the lentils with increased amounts. also adjust the heat. Use less peppers and heat components to begin with and add more later if needed 

Recipe origin: This dal tadka is adapted from my Indian kitchen book version. I added toasted fenugreek as I have loving  the toasted flavor from making all the baked Indian casseroles. The ground clove addition is inspired by chef Ranveer Brar dals 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Masoor Dal Tadka Indian Split Red Lentil Dal
Amount Per Serving
Calories 222 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 452mg20%
Potassium 586mg17%
Carbohydrates 32g11%
Fiber 15g63%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 13g26%
Vitamin A 347IU7%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 51mg5%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Ingredients:

  • red lentils (masoor dal): Cooking the lentils separately allows them to get to the perfect level of tender before adding the tempering. Mixing everything and cooking can sometimes make the dal flavor one note
  • tempering 1:  red onion, garlic cloves, ginger, coriander, cumin, and tomatoes, fried in oil until fragrant
  • Yogurt brings the flavors together
  • tempering 2: cumin seeds, bay leaves, green chilies, dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), garlic clove,  ginger and paprika, as well as a good pinch of ground cloves fried in oil
  • cilantro and lemon juice for garnish

Tips & Substitutions:

  • in this recipe, you want to season with the right amount of salt, as salt is what blooms the flavor on our tastebuds.
  • lentil subs: You can use other split Dals or a mix of Dals as well. Use petite yellow lentils (moong dal -will take 25 mins to cook in saucepan and 8 mins in instant pot), or split pigeon pea(toor dal – 35 mins in saucepan, 10-14 in instant pot), split black gram lentils (Urad dal, 25 mins saucepan, 4 mins instant pot) . Whole red lentils will take 25 mins in saucepan and 6 mins in instant pot. See pictures of all Dals on my Indian Dals page
  • No Onion Garlic: use zucchini instead of onion. Julienne it and let it get golden on some edges. Omit the garlic and add a pinch of asafetida (hing) or add 1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves

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Make your dal: Wash the lentils really well then soak in water for 10 minutes. Drain then add to a saucepan with the water, salt, and turmeric and cook over medium heat until the lentils are cooked to preference. Partially cover and cook so that the water doesn’t completely evaporate. You can add more water after 15 minutes if the lentils are too thick. Depending on your stove and saucepan, you’ll need 15-20 minutes for the lentils to cook.

Instant Pot: To cook the lentils in an instant pot, pressure cook for 3 minutes, then quick release after 10 mins.

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Make the first tempering: In a medium skillet, add the oil, add the onion and garlic and a good pinch of salt and cook until the onion is golden brown. You can add a few drops of water in between to deglaze if the onion is starting to scorch too much or is sticking to the pan.

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Once the onion is golden brown, transfer half of the mixture to another bowl to use as garnish later.

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Add in the ginger, coriander, cumin and mix well.

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Cook for a minute then add your tomato and 2 tablespoon water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well and cook until the tomato is tender.

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Mash the large pieces and add in 1 tablespoon non dairy yogurt or 2 tablespoons of non-dairy cream such as cashew cream and mix in.

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Then mix this tempering into your cooked masoor dal and bring that to a boil. Taste and adjust salt and flavor. Transfer the masoor dal to your serving dish.

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Now make the second tempering: heat the oil in a small skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and wait for the cumin seeds to change color and get fragrant.

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Add the bay leaves, green chilies, kasuri methi, ginger, garlic, and mix well and cook until the green chilies and garlic are somewhat golden.

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Add in the paprika, ground cloves, mix in and take off heat. alt

Drizzle this tempering all over the dal in the serving dish and add the caramelized onion as well and swirl it in.

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Garnish with some cilantro and some lemon juice if needed and serve with some roti, flatbread, or rice.

What to serve with Masoor Dal Tadka?

With any Dal a side of spiced veggies pairs best. Along with some fresh basmati rice or roti flatbread. Try some Gobi aloo (cauliflower potatoes), bhindi masala (okra), cabbageporiyal (spiced green bean carrot ) . Serve with Naan , GF Naan or Glutenfree flatbread. 

 

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