Masoor Dal (Spiced Red Lentils) Recipe (2024)



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I love this recipe and have been tweaking it to my liking. Here are my adjustments:

-add 2 tbsp coconut oil (in place of fresh coconut)
-use I ripe chopped tomato, if available
-use 1 tsp cayenne pepper, in place of Thai chili

Otherwise, it's fabulous!


Made this in my new instant pot pressure cooker. I should have cut a cup or two of liquid, but I let it boil down to thicken. 12 min under pressure.


Easy and good, but much, much better if you add about a half of can of coconut milk at the end. Also much better the next day.

Michael Smart

Spicier and tastier than the Bittman version - the key is the tomatoes and sweet potatoes (though I used butternut squash which was also great).


Actually, the more typical approach for dal would be to leave out the spices until the very end, then heat a small amount of oil or ghee in a small, separate pan over medium heat. Add spices, let them sizzle for 30 seconds or so, being careful not to let them burn, then stir this mixture into the dal. (Many Indian recipes would also call for using whole cumin seeds rather than ground, in which case you should sizzle them first for about 15 seconds before adding the ground spices to the oil.)

Richard Pieczara

Very tasty. I increased all spices by about 50% and substituted coconut milk for coconut pieces. (Note mistake in this recipe--should use 10 ounces of finely diced sweet potato, not "2 1/2 cups", as it says.)

Malia, Madison, WI

Really easy and tasty. Cut turmeric to 1/2 tsp and water to 3 cups, augmented with Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base, served with brown rice and Trader Joe's Garlic Naan. Definitely a keeper. I love Nigella's recipes & NY Times Cooking!

Shaila M

Keep in mind dal thickens as it cools, so keep it a little loose. Made with spinach instead of sweet potatoes - doubled the fresh ginger and used fresh instead of powdered turmeric. Also added a hit of tomato paste at the end to freshen and thicken the liquid a bit.


Be sure to use red lentils...I've cooked with both red and brown/green. Red is so much better visually and texture wise. Don't be tempted to substitute.


Delicious! Was liberal with the spices, subbed chicken broth for water, and added half can coconut milk (as another reviewer suggested). Served with jasmine rice and dollop of greek yogurt.


It is my understanding that in recipes using a lot of spices, especially Indian recipes, it’s always best to add the spices to the warm oil first and cook a few minutes before adding other ingredients (i.e. onions etc.). Is there a reason why this recipe first softens the onions and sweet potatoes? Thank you

monica r

So I tweaked mine quite a bit but I was over the moon happy with the results! I used coconut oil, added a can of coconut milk and a 24 oz can of tomatoes. I had a small butternut squash that needed to be used so diced that along with the sweet potato and it’s just so delicious. This is going to be a staple at my house!

Jenel Farrell

Did folks do anything special to prep the lentils? I found them difficult to digest and am wondering if I was supposed to boil or soak the lentils first? Thanks!


Nice basic recipe. Added Thai Red Chili paste, red chili flakes, additional ginger, a vegan boullion cube and cooked it down for a while longer on the stove top.

The result was an amazing and authentic Red Lentil Dahl.


I made it with canned lentils (brown), added extra ginger, some cinnamon, lime juice, bit of Splenda, and fresh curry leaves, left out the chilis and garlic .... wow.
Bagged it in 3 bags in the freezer, figured the carb count at 45 per bag, perfect for my diabetic diet. Next time, I'll use chana (yellow) dal which has a lower glycemic index, and sub some coconut milk for some of the water. Can't wait

hard pass

This was so bitter. Made it exactly as the recipe laid it out and no substitutions. Wasn’t burned. I can’t for the life of me figure out why it’s so bitter.


This recipe is delicious as-is, but I’ve made a lot and have plussed it up with a few edits:• swap coconut milk for the water• swap ghee for the vegetable oil• add 1tsp of smoked paprika• add 1 or 2 diced Campari tomatoes • add cup and a half of chopped spinach• add 1 diced red bell pepperServe with some garlic naan and it’s bomb.


Reduce turmeric by half. Mine is just a bit too powerful.


I used a regular potato in place of sweet potatoes and vegetable stock in place of water. Like other commentators, 25 min still left the lentils a bit on the crunchy side. I wonder what's the cooking limit on lentils before they become mushy? Otherwise, this was a good recipe, I'll be making it again.


We added a whole onion, whole can of diced tomatoes, whole can of unsweetened coconut milk, a heaping tablespoon of chicken bullion and tripled the dry spices. PERFECTION.


Really easy and delicious! I didnt have a chili so I subbed for 1 tsp of chili flakes and it gave it a really nice kick. Like others I didnt use veggie oil and instead opted for coconut oil. Will trying topping with some yogurt too next time!


I love this recipe - but I do like to use my potato masher to mash up about half of the pot so it's a thicker and less chunky version. I've used my immersion blender for this too. Didn't have canned tomatoes so used some fresh summer tomatoes I had chopped and frozen a few months ago. Still delicious!


This recipe was okay. I am on a low-oil diet so skipped the oil, which may have made a difference, otherwise followed the recipe as written. It is hearty and great for a cold winter day. My dish had a bitter after taste, which I thought may have been from the amount of turmeric? I typically use half the amount in my Indian-inspired dishes. It was worth the try but not high on my list for repeats.


A very forgiving recipe. Made this without tomatoes since I didn’t have any. Didn’t have cilantro either. Or the peppers. Used 1/2 jalapeno for a little heat. Added about 1/2 tablespoon of vegetarian Better than Bouillon into the water and a couple of large tablespoons of tomato paste at the end. I did not add any salt, the bouillon was enough. Served over brown rice. Quite delicious and easy for a weeknight dinner.


Same as "red lentil dal" March 2, 2005


4 Thai chilis good spice level2 fresh tomatoMore ginger more garlic Toasted coconut flakes Rice w cilantro limeVeg broth instead of water


This recipe did not work for me the first time following the instructions as written. The soup was chunky, not smooth even after a much longer cook time. I addressed this by roasting the sweet potatoes beforehand. I also used two dried arbol chilis for heat. It still took about an hour of cooking to soften the lentils sufficiently but the result is delicious.


Although I was skeptical about the sweet potato... this is good! My only change was popping mustard and cumin seeds in ghee on the stove to top off before serving. (Although really not necessary.)


Use 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, substitute for Thai chiliSauté in coconut oil instead of vegetable oil Use 10 ounces finally diced sweet potato, not 2 1/2 cups Add a half a can of coconut milk at the end Can add butternut squash or other squash at the end Add sautéed spinach Serve with Jasmine rice and dollop of Greek yogurt

Jillian H

Yummy recipe! Served with the "Bright Rice" suggested in the recipe description, which was delicious! Changes:- Added coconut milk at the end (instead of coconut on top). Great addition!

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Masoor Dal (Spiced Red Lentils) Recipe (2024)
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