Masala Dal

Masala Dal

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Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
196 Calories
12g Fat
18g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 196
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 11mg 4%
Sodium 597mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 6%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 28mg 141%
Calcium 46mg 4%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 428mg 9%
*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.)

You may have to visit a specialty shop to find mung dal (split yellow lentils), masoor dal (split red lentils), and asafetida, but once you've stocked up, you won't be far from this classic Indian comfort food. Using a pressure cooker makes it fast and easy to prepare for a crowd. Served as a healthy entrée, this masala dal goes just as well with hot chapatis as it does with plain rice. Throw in a salad or a vegetable side dish and you've got the perfect vegetarian meal!


  • 1 cup mung dal, thoroughly washed 

  • 1 cup masoor dal, thoroughly washed

  • 1/4 teaspoon asafetida

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, divided

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, divided

  • 2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil (such as vegetable, canola, or sunflower)

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste

  • 1/2 tablespoon ginger paste

  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder

  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder

  • 1 teaspoon sambar masala

  • 2 tablespoons ghee

  • 7 to 8 curry leaves

  • 1 teaspoon paanch phoran

  • 2 green chilies, finely chopped, optional

  • Salt, to taste

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Mix the two washed dals together in a pressure cooker and add enough water just to cover. Add the asafetida, 1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric and red chili powder, and salt to taste.

  3. Cover and set up to cook on a medium flame. Allow one whistle/pressure release and reduce flame to simmer. Cook until you hear two more whistles/pressure releases and turn off. Keep aside without opening the pressure cooker.

  4. Heat the cooking oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the onions and fry till translucent.

  5. Add the tomatoes, ginger, and garlic. Fry till the tomatoes are soft and pulpy.

  6. Add all the powdered spices: coriander, cumin, sambar masala, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoons of turmeric and red chili powder. Mix well and fry for 5 to 7 minutes.

  7. Release the steam and open the pressure cooker. Add the boiled dals to the spice and tomato mixture and blend well. Season with salt if necessary.

  8. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

  9. In another small pan, heat the ghee over medium heat until quite hot. Add the paanch phoran, curry leaves, and green chilies and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture stops spluttering. Stir often.

  10. Turn off the heat and add the ghee mixture to the dal. Stir well.

  11. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with chapatis or plain boiled rice.

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