Masoor ki dal ~ Red gram lentil soup

Masoor ki dal – Red gram lentil soup

Today was one of those unpredictable days when you think one thing and something totally different happens. I had already decided the menu for our Saturday lunch on Wednesday. It was to be something we all love and an original recipe for the ongoing theme at Beyond Curries, but then, it was not to be!

As I started putting away my purchases from the grocery bag, emptying the contents into their allotted containers, my hands lingered a little longer over the packet of masoor dal (orange or red gram). I could not resist making dal again. “It is definitely more healthy than that (that refers to the thing I was supposed to make),” I said to myself and in a flash the menu changed completely to a simple one.

A dal is definitely not exotic in modern Indian terms (which is limited to anything that contains cream, double cream, milk, ghee, paneer or cashew paste) but I bet if a bowlful of masoor dal was placed on your table, you won’t stop with just one sip. This one will have you slurping till the spoon hits the floor of your bowl. Naturally this dal makes its appearance quite often in my kitchen. While the making of masoor dal is not very different from the method followed for other lentil soups, it lends a very different flavour and taste. The consistency of masoor dal is not as thick as chana dal or tuvar dal which is a good thing as it permits you to have more!

The way I make, the dal retains the smoothness of a soup. I recommend not using tomatoes as it lends a chunky texture which interferes with the ‘sluuuurrrrrrr – pping’ action. If you like it a little tangy go ahead and add tomatoes chopped roughly into chunks and drop in towards the end and give it a boil before serving.

Sweatha – I am trying hard to prove I am not a Tirupati mottai anymore!! Thanks people, for visiting me. I should be able to spend a little more time online in the next few months if things go right.

Recipe: Masoor ki dal / Red gram lentil soup

Time to prepare: 1/2 hour
Yield: 4 bellyfuls
Category: Main Course, Side Dish, Indian Vegan Food, Low calorie, Healthy, Pulses

Split red gram lentils (Masoor dal)- 1.5 cups raw yields almost 3 cups of cooked pulses
Onions (Pyaaz) – 3 small ones sliced very thin (I like to use 1/2 cup of shallots)
Ginger (Adrak) – 1″ julienned
Green chillies (Hari Mirch) – 2 slit lengthwise
Garlic (Lassoon) sliced into thin slivers – I used Kashmiri lahsun known as Snow Mountain Garlic as I stock them a lot – 2 tsps.

Snow Mountain Garlic / Kashmiri Lahsun / One Pod Garlic
Kashmiri Garlic / Snow Mountain Garlic

Cumin seeds (Jeera) – 1.5 tsp.
Curry leaves (Kadipatta) – 1 stem
Oil (I recommend mustard oil as long as you use it sparingly) / Kacchi ghani – 1tbsp.
[* If you are using mustard oil (which drives up the taste two notches high) heat the oil to smoking hot and turn off the gas till it comes back to room temperature and proceed again as you would with other oils.]
Turmeric powder (Haldi) – 1/4 tsp.
Chilli powder and salt as per taste.


Heat oil. Season with cumin seeds, ginger, chillies and garlic in the order mentioned.

When the garlic browns, add onion and fry adding a pinch of salt till the onions turn pink. Add cooked lentils and stir well adding turmeric salt and chilli powder.

I sometimes add kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) and boil a bit. The consistency should be that of a creamy soup. Adjust water as needed and boil well before removing from fire.

Garnish with plenty of coriander leaves.

Serving: I like to have a small serving of this dal by itself before I have it the Indian way. Break a bit of roti/paratha (flatbread). Fold it by pressing two corners. Dunk into a bowl of hot dal. Scoop, slurp and chew! If you are having rice, spread a bit of cooked rice. Pour hot dal, mix up and have with any side dish. I have plenty of ideas on my recipe index.

Enjoy the weekend!

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Have your say

  1. A Homemakers Diary

    red lentil is our family fav too. will try your version soon. looks lovely and the presentation is great.

  2. Harini,
    love massor ki dal anytime , with some fresh coriander leaves it tastes wonderful .And kashmiri garlic ,I think I haven't seen them till now :)..
    hugs and smiles

  3. Lovely dal and nice click. Never heard about the kashmiri garlic.

  4. Wow Harini, the first pic is amazing….love the bowl…

  5. Interesting bit about the Kashmiri garlic – did you buy it in Bombay?

  6. What a coincidence that you talk about dal, while I was contemplating of making some this week. I've never made dal but I love it, so now you convinced me to put it on the menu for this week. And as I said on flickr; gorgeous photo too!

  7. yum, yum! looks soo good 🙂

  8. Kashmiri garlic looks interesting… Beautiful clicks, H.

  9. Hey Harini!
    This dal will be on our dinner table tonight!Love the serving dish….is that the one from the pottery exhibition?
    Watched the movie Julie & Julia..reminded so much of u!

  10. What??? You have your weekend meals planned at the beginning of the week? I wish I could be so organized…..I usually have no plan until I open the fridge on any given day.

  11. Masoor is one of my favorite dals to cook not least because with its short cooking time it's a busy cook's friend. I also love the rich flavor it has.
    I don't have any mustard oil– maybe I should get some on my next trip to the Indian grocery store. Is it a huge flavor difference than if I were to, say, just sputter some mustard in regular vegetable oil?

  12. Wow the soup looks heavenly and comforting… Never heard of the snow mountain garlic, thanks for enlightning!!! Would love to have that bowl of soup!!!

  13. AMA's AnythingVegetarian

    Simple yet Comforting Dal-Soup

  14. Awesome Pic, Harini. It si really fabulous. Kashmiri garlic is very new to me

  15. Simple and lovely.. I'll try this out!

  16. Vaish, yes! Mustard oil does make a lot of difference. Do try it once.

  17. HAHAHA!.Got hte message Sweetie.But it looks like I am increasingly becoming lazzzzzy.Anyway Hearty soup.But never heard or tried kashmiri garlic.New to me.
    Hearty soup dearie.

  18. The bowl of dal looks delicious! lovely pic.

  19. i like how you styled the photograph. and you cant go wrong with masoor in any combination, but a mustard oil chonkk is something i should give a shot at. kashmiri garlic – i thought it to be purely medicinal and not for cooking – i had bought a kilo once in Jammu and the vendor told me to eat it like a tablet for good health and not to cook with it.

  20. Thanks, Rajani. I have to check up on that information you have given. I have been using these for a long time, for cooking as well as just swallowing two a day.

  21. 'Slurrrrping' … lol. I want that bowl and the spoon and the rassi too Harini … looks so rustic & beautiful. 🙂 This is a new way of treating the humble masoor dal .. must try it. 🙂

  22. my favorite dal with the most amazing picture! Gorgeous Harini.

  23. Rachana Kothari

    One of my fav daal and the pic is simply outstanding!

  24. Soup looks delicious. First time seeing Kashmiri garlic. so cute. Love your click.

  25. I'm here again after so long. Never knew there was a variety of garlic like this. Lovely dal.

    And I must say your pictures are fantastic.

  26. I am here after a long gap. Ah! your masoor dal look so inviting and tempting me right now. Pic presentation is just classic! Your pot shows your sensible choice. 🙂

    Even I didn't know abt the garlic variety.


  27. Masoor dal has never looked so "sexy"!

    I am lapping up your food photography!

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