Masoor Dal Tadka

I’m still short on time this week. Well, technically I have time to do something more elaborate. However, I don’t feel like it. This dish is one I am using to entertain some friends of ours and I didn’t want to make something too complicated as to not be exhausted by the time we get to eat. Also, I want to showcase how a simple dish can taste complex and also be healthy. I found this recipe for Masoor Dal Tadka from the Curious Chickpea. Masoor Dal is the red lentil. You can find these easily at the grocery store. The recipe as written is actually too low in calories for a main dish. Lentils are high in protein and low in calories, which is a plus. However, a meal too low in calories does no good for staying full. And, it’s not good to leave your guests hungry. Here are the original stats:

Here’s what I changed:

  • I deleted the added salt.
  • I reduced the servings from 8 to 6 to increase the calories.
  • I replaced the tomatoes with pumpkin puree to increase the vitamin A.
  • I added red bell pepper to increase the vitamin C.

Here are the final stats:

Here is the final recipe:


Masoor Dal Tadka

Serves 6

  • 2 cups dry masoor dal (aka red lentils), sorted and well rinsed
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tbsp oil (coconut oil or neutral flavored)
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 green chilies, minced (can be seeded for less heat, use more or less to taste)
  • 1 tbsp Indian curry powder
  • 1 tsp whole mustard seed
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
  • 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • cilantro, for garnish
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  1. Combine the basmati rice and two cups of water in pot.  Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low and cover.  Cook for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
  2. Combine the lentils and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to simmer. Skim off any foam that collects on top. Cook, partially covered, until the lentils are tender, usually 15-20 minutes.
  3. While the lentils are cooking, make the tadka. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the oil and onion, red bell pepper, garlic, ginger, chiles, and a pinch of salt. Fry until soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the spices: curry powder, mustard, coriander, and cumin, along with the salt. Stir to combine and cook for about 60 seconds, then add the pumpkin. Cook about 7 minutes to meld the flavors.
  5. Add the tadka to the cooked lentils, and simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes to infuse with flavor.
  6. Serve garnished with cilantro and with basmati rice.

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