Whole Masoor Dal (Brown Lentil Curry)

Servings : Serves 4

This dish has got to be one of the most comforting comfort foods that exist. A serving of delicious brown lentil curry over plain boiled rice or with whole wheat rotis has a homey soothing feel to it, and is the perfect balance for a very satisfying lunch.


  • 1 cup whole masoor (brown lentils)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, grated or finely chopped
  • a few curry leaves/limro (optional)
  • 1-2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • salt to taste
  • chopped coriander for garnish


Rinse the lentils and soak for about 10 minutes. Then put them in a pan and add 3 cups of water, quarter tsp turmeric powder and a quarter tsp chilli powder. Do not add salt at this point as it makes the lentils take longer to soften. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that floats to the surface then turn the heat down and allow the lentils to continue simmering gently until they are tender. Add half a tsp of salt, mix and then turn the heat off, do not drain. Just cover and set aside.

In a pan add the oil and butter, then the cumin seeds followed by the curry leaves (if you are using them). Next add the chopped onions and fry until golden brown then add the garlic paste and stir until aromatic. Add the grated tomato and chopped chilli plus the cumin powder and remainder of the turmeric powder (quarter tsp). Cook this down until the tomatoes are thick and cooked through. Then add the boiled lentils along with their water. Stir and adjust salt. Turn the heat down, cover and allow to simmer on low heat until the flavours are well infused and the lentils are thick and creamy.

Finally sprinkle some garam masala and add the chopped fresh coriander. Serve with rice or rotis.


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