Orange or Red Lentils With Tomato (Masoor Dal)

Lentils with tomato masoor dal recipe

The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 3 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
891 Calories
6g Fat
160g Carbs
58g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3
Amount per serving
Calories 891
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 298mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 160g 58%
Dietary Fiber 28g 101%
Protein 58g
Calcium 164mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

From the book The Bengali Five-Spice Chronicles by Rinku Bhattacharya comes this authentic vegetarian Indian food recipe for orange or red split lentils with tomatoes and fresh cilantro, a Bengali Indian recipe called Tomato Dhoney Pata Diye Masoor Dal.

Author Rink says: "This is a weeknight variation of orange split lentils which are extremely versatile because of their quick cooking time and naturally mild and adaptive taste. They are comforting, simple, and as basic as it gets. Everyone in my family, including my children, loves this lentil. This light variation is a summertime favorite but can be enjoyed as a soup in winter, if desired, with some hot buttered whole wheat toast."

If you need to keep this Bengali masoor dal lentil dish vegan and dairy-free, you can use a bit of olive oil or vegan margarine in place of the ghee. Enjoy!


  • ½ cup dried orange or red split lentils (masoor dal)
  • 3 cups of water (for cooking lentils)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 green chilies, slit lengthwise
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ghee (or use olive oil or vegan margarine to keep it vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

Steps to Make It

  1. Put the lentils and 3 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

    Ingredients for lentils with tomato masoor dal
    The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak
  2. Add the turmeric, salt, and green chilies and cook for about 15 minutes.

    Add turmeric
    The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak
  3. While the lentils are boiling a scum may form on the surface; you can gently remove this while the lentils are cooking.

    Peppers in pot
    The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Mix the lentil and tomato mixture well - it should have a nice soupy consistency that is not too thin or too thick.

    Add tomatoes
    The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak
  5. Heat the ghee in a small skillet on medium heat for about one minute, then add the cumin seeds and wait till the seeds begin to sizzle.

    Heat the ghee
    The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak
  6. Pour this seasoned ghee with the cumin seeds over the lentils and stir in the fresh chopped cilantro.

    The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak

Serve your red lentil masoor dal with steamed white rice, as is traditional in Indian cuisine, or, as the author suggests, as a soup with some hot buttered toast for a light meal.

If you need to make this recipe dairy-free and vegan, you can of course substitute olive oil or vegetable oil for the Indian ghee. Enjoy your vegetarian masoor dal!

This vegetarian masoor dal recipe comes from The Bengali Five-Spice Chronicles by Rinku Bhattacharya.

Serve this red lentil Bengali masoor dhal dish with Indian basmati rice or Indian lemon rice, and of course, scoop it all up with some homemade vegan naan bread.

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