Masoor Daal Tadka is something that happens pretty often at home. When people visit my instagram page they often think I might be cooking delicious looking food every day but trust me a simple plate of daal chawal (daal = lentil soup, chawal = rice) is all I need to feel good. There are several versions of daal or lentils and thus different recipes of all these lentils, so is the cooking style and spices that keep changing throughout India. There is not one recipe which everyone follows.
Masoor daal stands for split red lentils which is literally found in supermarkets across the world making this a dish that everyone can try at their homes. You should have no reason to not give this a try 🙂 The word ‘daal’ is used for both cooked and raw lentils. This can get confusing for someone new to the Indian kitchen. And the word ‘tadka’ literally stands for ‘tempering’ which means adding some extra spices on top of a cooked dish to add extra depth of flavor. I am not sure if there are many cuisines in the world who add spices after the food is cooked, let me know in the comments below if you know of any such dish from other cuisines.
This same recipe of masoor daal tadka can be tried for other types of lentils like green, yellow or black lentils but there will be a change in the amount of time it takes to cook.
Hope you enjoy the recipe and give this a try!
Masoor Daal Tadka
Wash the lentils under running water for a couple of times and let it soak for 30 mins to ensure faster cooking. This step of soaking in water is not mandatory.
Meanwhile chop the onion, tomato, green chilli. In a pan add 2-3 tbsp oil and warm it up. Add cumin seeds and let it sizzle for a few seconds, follow this with chopped onion. Cook it for 5 mins on medium flame, till you see slight color change.
Add 1 tsp of salt and turmeric powder and mix well.
Add the ginger garlic paste or minced garlic and grated ginger to the onion and cook it for 2-3 more minutes.
Now add the red chilli powder, coriander powder and cumin powder and stir well. Keep cooking it on a medium flame for 2 more minutes and then add the chopped tomato. Cook the tomatoes for 5 more mins and they will start turning soft.
Add the soaked lentils to the pan without the water used for soaking. Mix everything well. Add 250 ml water to the pan and increase the flame. Bring it to a boil and let it boil for a minute. Lower the heat, cover the pan and let it cook on a medium to low heat for 20 mins. Check on it ocassionally and give it a stir.
After 20 - 25 mins, you will see the lentils have cooked really well and have thickened. Add the garam masala to the pan and mix well. Add 150 ml water to give a thinner consistency to the daal. Let it simmer without the pan cover.
Meanwhile grab another tiny pan for the tempering. In India every home has a tempering pan to add an extra layer of spices to bring new flavor. In the pan add oil, and once warm enough add the cumin seeds, garlic, curry leaves, and asafeotida. Follow it up within a min with dried red chilli and some chilli powder (both optional). This step should take less than 5 mins and add this to the daal.
Give it a good mix. Check for seasoning and add salt if needed. Add 1 tsp sugar and some fresh coriander leaves.
Serve this with steamed rice or flat bread and papad with a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon. Enjoy!