Masala daal recipe

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Masala Daal or Masoor Mussallam uses whole Masoor lentils or brown lentils. The special masala paste is similar to what is used in meat curries. This daal is very hearty or meaty, both in texture and flavor.


  • ¾ cup whole brown lentils (whole masoor)
  • ¼ cup red masoor lentils (red masoor daal)
  • 2 medium onions thinly sliced
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 cup plain yogurt whisked
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 3-4 Tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
For the Masala or Spice Paste
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom (or 2 green cardamom)
  • 1-2 inch cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp khuskhus or white poppy seeds
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 Byadgi chilies or any dry red chili
How to Make It
  1. Wash the daals and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a pressure cooker or pressure pan.
  3. When oil is hot, add the sliced onions and fry until brown. Take care not to burn them.
  4. Now add the washed daals, turmeric and 2-3 cups of water. Cook for 3 whistles and steam for 10 minutes. If you are using the stove top method, continue cooking in the same pot until the lentils break down.
  5. Meanwhile, start cooking masala paste. Heat 1 tsp oil in a wok. Gently fry the whole spices and the poppy seeds and chilies one by one. Be very careful with the poppy seeds because they can burn easily.
  6. Cool the spices and then grind them to a paste adding just a little water.
  7. Add a spoonful of ghee and maybe a spoon of oil to a wok.
  8. Add the masala paste and fry until oil separates. Add splashes of water in between to prevent the spice paste from sticking. Ideally, you should fry this paste for 15 minutes on low heat so that it is cooked well and gets a mellow flavor.
  9. Once the cooker is done, bring the daal to a boil and simmer it.
  10. Add the cooked masala paste to this daal mixture in the cooker or pot in step 4 and stir well to combine. Let simmer for 5 minutes.
  11. Now add whisked plain yogurt to the daal and cook it out on a low flame.
  12. Season with salt and 1 tsp sugar, coriander powder and add chopped tomatoes.
  13. Simmer the daal until it thickens and tomatoes are cooked down. The daal will thicken naturally and also because of poppy seeds in the spice paste.
  14. Now it is time for the final tadka. Heat ghee in a wok and add some cumin seeds. Pour this mixture over the daal just before serving.
  15. Serve hot with roti or rice.

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