(Serves 4-6)

Prep Time:15 minutes    Cook Time: 30 minutes

Masala Dahl

Lentils are a truly universal food, and many cultures seem to have a variation of this recipe.  This dahl recipe is fast, easy, healthy and delicious.  It also works great as a hearty soup and it freezes well.   Mung Dahl is one of the most nutritious legumes you can eat, packed with essential vitamins and minerals.  If you prefer, substitute for red lentils or split yellow pea instead.  For a deeper flavor, you can leave out the onion in the beginning and instead make a quick onion baghar at the end of the dish. See the recipe adjustment below.


Cooking Tip

Keep a cup of water at your side.  As you sauté your onion and tomato on high heat you will need to add small amounts of water (about a tablespoon) frequently, to keep your mixture moist and prevent it from burning.




2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped


1 small yellow onion, diced


1 medium, ripe tomato, diced or grated over a bowl to remove skin

1 packet MM Dahl Masala


1 cup split mung bean, red lentils or split yellow pea, rinsed thoroughly.  (if using yellow pea try to soak for an hour). 

4 cups water (3 cups for red lentils, 5 cups for yellow split-pea)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 handful cilantro, for garnish


1-2 cups Thai jasmine (suggested) or Indian basmati rice (prepare as instructed). 


1.  Heat oil in a medium-size pot on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.   Add the onion and sauté until light brown, about 4 minutes.


2.  Add the tomato and sauté frequently for 3-4 minutes, until it releases all its water, softens, and breaks apart. 


3.  Add contents of MM Dahl Masala packet and mix well.  Fry this mixture for a couple of minutes so spices are incorporated. 


4.  Stir the lentils into the tomato-masala mixture and add the water.  Bring to a boil. 


5.  Turn heat to low, cover and cook until lentils soften.  For mung bean or red lentils this should take about 30-35 minutes, for yellow split pea it may take 50 minutes to one hour.  Stir regularly to prevent sticking and check that there is enough liquid to keep it soupy.  If the lentils are still hard but your texture is too thick, simply add a half a cup of water at time to maintain the slightly thick but soupy texture while cooking. 


6.  Once your lentils are fully cooked, turn the heat to medium-high and bring the lentils to a gentle boil.  Boil off enough water until you are left with the desired thickness.  


7.  Once your dahl is the right thickness, adjust the salt, add lemon juice,  and garnish with cilantro. 


8.  Serve with rice and a dollop of yogurt or enjoy as a lentil soup.

Recipe Adjustment for Onion Baghar

Leave out the onion in the beginning of recipe.  Slice half of a small onion into skinny single layers. Place a small frying pan on medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add 3-4 tablespoons of canola or sunflower oil and heat for about a minute. There should be enough oil in your pan, so your onions are at least half covered. When the oil is very hot, add your onions in a single a layer. You don't have to move them around too much, except to rotate the rapidly browning onions from the outside to the middle so they don't burn. The key here is to get them as dark brown as you can before they turn black and burn. This whole process takes just a few minutes. When the onions are done, pour them along with the oil into your boiling dahl and turn the heat off immediately. Enjoy right away over a bowl of rice or "marinate" overnight for a more intense flavor.

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Moji Masala 


New York, NY