Masoor Dal is a thick Indian spiced red lentil stew seasoned with warm fragrant spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric and cinnamon.
The word “dal” refers to “split lentils” not lentils in general as the word is typically used to describe all lentil dishes in Indian cuisine. This vegetarian entrée comes together in under an hour for a quick and easy dinner made from pantry staples and a few spices.
While it can be served on its own, I love to serve it over roasted vegetables and basmati rice with a side of naan for scooping up the dal. Garnish it simply with cilantro or with yogurt and pickled onions to add contrasting textures and flavors. To make this recipe vegan simply skip the butter and yogurt.
Rinse and drain the lentils. Heat a large pot over medium heat, add the lentils and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until the lentils are just tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain any excess liquid and set the lentils aside in a large bowl.
Return the pot to medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the butter and allow to melt, then add the onion and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes.
Add the garlic, ginger and chilies sautéing until fragrant, about an additional 30 seconds. Next, add the cumin, coriander, turmeric and cinnamon, stirring to combine before adding the cooked lentils, the tomatoes with their liquid and 1 cup of water.
Simmer until the mixture becomes thick and cohesive, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Serve hot over rice or with naan. Garnish with yogurt and top with pickled onions and cilantro.
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