Rustic Masoor Dal

This masoor dal preparation, mostly native to Sindhi households, is simple, hearty and delicious and best eaten with rice.

makes 4 cups | 1 hour + soak time


1 cup orange masoor dal

3 + cups water

1 tsp turmeric

2 Tbsp ginger purée

1 tsp salt

3 Tbsp ghee

2-3 cloves garlic, sliced

pinch of asafetida

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 cup chopped fresh or 1 Tbsp dried fenugreek

juice from one lemon



  1. Soak the lentils in enough water to generously cover the lentils for 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator. Drain.

  2. Bring lentils and turmeric with 3 cups of water to a boil. Within a few minutes, a scum may rise to the top - this is the debris from the lentils that needs to be discarded. Using a slotted spoon, remove the scum then lower the heat, cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Keep adding more water 1/2 cup at a time as needed.

  3. Stir in the ginger purée and salt. The dal should be soft, creamy and fairly thick. If not, continue cooking until it is.

  4. Heat up the ghee in a separate pan and pop the cumin seeds. Add the asafetida, sliced garlic, tomatoes and chili powder and cook for a quick minute or two. Stir into the dal along with the fenugreek leaves and lemon juice and serve immediately.

    ideas / variations

    • Use olive or coconut oil instead of ghee for a vegan option. For an added, unique flavor, stir in 2-3 tablespoons of almond butter at the end.

    • For a heartier option, use a meat stock to cook the dal with instead of water.