Lalla Mussa Dal

This week I decided to go back to my tried and true lentils. Can’t go wrong with these. This recipe is a version of chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s signature dish. This recipe is creamy and hearty as well as spicy. The recipe will only work with the lentil types that are listed, which are urad and moong dal. If you don’t have a well stocked grocery store or ethnic grocery, you can order them online. The recipe version I am using to base my recipe on is from thebrookcook. They decreased the butter in the original recipe by half. The original recipe uses a whole stick. Even with the reduction of butter, the recipe is still high in calories. That can easily be fixed. Even with some of the issues with the recipe, I know I can make a healthier version that still tastes amazing. Here are the original stats:

Here’s what I changed:

  • I reduced the butter by half to reduce the calories.
  • I replaced the tomato sauce with pumpkin puree to increase the vitamin A and remove the tomato.
  • I replaced the heavy cream with coconut cream and reduced it by half to remove the dairy and reduce the calories.
  • I added red bell pepper to increase the vitamin C.
  • I increased the servings from 6 to 8 to lower the calories

Here is the final recipe:


Lalla Mussa Dal

Serves 8

  • cup whole black gram lentils (urad dal)
  • 1/4 cup whole green gram lentils (moong dal)
  • 2 green chiles, chopped
  • 3 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin puree
  • teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder, or cayenne
  • teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
  • 16 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-inch piece ginger, cut into thin strips, for garnish, as desired
  • 1 cup brown Basmati rice
  1. Mix together both types of lentils and rinse thoroughly in water. Drain. Add 1 cup water and soak for 1 hour.
  2. Drain lentils again, add to a small pot with 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Skim the scum and dirt off the top and discard.
  3. Strain the lentils and return them to the pot. Add 1 cup water, the green chiles and ginger and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
  4. Add 1/2 of the butter and simmer on low heat, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring often and mashing with the back of a big spoon as the lentils soften.
  5. After about 35 minutes, melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter in a deep nonstick pan; add the pumpkin puree and red bell pepper and sauté on low heat until fat rises to the surface. 
  6. Add the red chili powder (or cayenne), ground coriander, fenugreek leaves and garlic to the pumpkin and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to dry out and stick to the pan.
  7. Add the lentils and mix well. Add the cream and mix well. Add 1 to 2 cups water (for desired texture) and salt to taste, and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat
  8. Bring 2 cups of water and brown basmati rice to a boil.  Cover and cook on low for 20 minutes.
  9. Serve hot, over rice and garnished with ginger strips, as desired.

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