SIMPLE MASUR DAL (Split Lentils Soup)

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Dal is a traditional legume based soup-like preparation in India. The main ingredient is usually a legume (split beans or lentils) or mixed legumes with or without skin that is cooked with spices and/or vegetables, that vary from region to region. Thus, every version of the dal gets a new name that highlights the special ingredient or style of preparation. Most meals are incomplete with a serving of dal along with rice in southern India or paratha in northern India. However, most of them involve a light to strong tempering of different spices in ghee or butter. This masur dal is a delicious and nutritious preparation that can be cooked in no time.

Check out some great tips by the chef and the nutritionist! 🙂

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

½ cup split lentils (masur dal)

½ onion, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, mashed whole

1 green chili, chopped, optional

2 tbsp ghee

1/8  tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp red chili powder

½ tsp dried coriander powder

Salt as needed

Cilantro for garnishing


  1. Pressure cook the masur dal with double the amount of water (1 cup). Cook the dal for 5-7 minutes on low heat after the first whistle. If you prefer to cook the dal on stove, do not add salt and cook it till it is soft enough to mash. Double the amount of water should suffice for stove top cooking as well.
  2. Once the dal is cooked mash it to make it a semi-homogenous paste.
  3. Heat ghee in a pot and add the mashed garlic & chili. When the garlic becomes light brown add the chopped onion and sauté them on medium heat till they also turn light brown.
  4. Now add the tomatoes, dry powders, salt and sauté for a minute or two.
  5. When tomatoes soften and ghee separates, add the mashed dal and mix well. Then add additional amount of water, about 1 cup or as per the consistency you like.
  6. Sprinkle additional salt if needed and bring it to a boil.
  7. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with Basmati rice or jeera rice or aloo jeera rice.

Chef’s tip:

You can transform this dal into a wholesome soup for a winter dinner by adding pureed tomatoes instead of chopped pieces.

To give this dal a tadka dal type aroma, give an additional tadka (tempering) of crushed garlic and whole red chili over the dal just before serving.

Most dals, except split red gram (tur dal) and split chick peas (chana dal) do not require soaking. For tur dal and chick peas, its best to soak the dal for an hour in warm water before pressure cooking.

Nutritionist’s tip:

Dals are a good source of proteins for vegetarians and complement well with chapati, whole grain bread and rice to provide the essential amino acids (proteins) needed by the body.

For a more nutritious dal, add ½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi seeds to the hot ghee along with the garlic). Fenugreek seeds contain decent quantity of potassium and omega 3 fatty acids and have been recommended for consumption for those with diabetes and hypertension.


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