Sabut Masoor Dal (Brown Lentils)

Masoor dal is a delicious Pakistani lentil curry made using brown lentils (red lentils with their skin on). The nutritional profile of these lentils is similar to that of meat, making it a popular substitute in most vegetarian/vegan diets. Brown lentils are easy to cook, cheap and readily available at most stores, making them the perfect meal for busy nights.

Brown lentils are a staple in all Pakistani households. Lentils of any kind are so comforting to have around. Specially for days when you cannot decide what to cook or are unable to make a grocery run. If you have some lentils on hand you can always whip up a meal, like this super easy and delicious lentil soup.

The best part of these lentils is that you can cook and flavor them to your preference, They can be slow cooked on low heat or pressure cooked when you are short on time. You can temper them for an extra boost of flavor or have them simply boiled and seasoned. They pair excellently with boiled rice or chapati but are equally delicious devoured on their own.

I love Daal Makhni but don’t always have kidney beans on hand. This masoor dal recipe is not only creamy and delicious but fully satisfies my Daal Makhni cravings. If you are a fan of Daal Makhni or Butter Chicken this recipe is for you. Serve it with boiled rice or hot naan and get ready to make brown lentils this way again and again.


For Dal:

  • Whole Brown Lentils or Masoor Dal 1 cup
  • Vegetable or Chicken Stock 3-4 cups (Can be substituted by water)
  • Onion 1 medium
  • Tomatoes 1 large
  • Ginger 2″ piece
  • Garlic 3 cloves
  • Green Chilli 1
  • Bay leaf 1
  • Oil 1 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Red Chilli Powder 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp

For Tempering:

  • Ghee or Clarified Butter 2 tbsp
  • Cumin Seeds 1 tsp
  • Green or Red Chilli 1
  • Dried Red Button Chillies 2
  • Garlic 2-3 cloves; thinly sliced
  • Garam Masala 1/4 tsp


Blend tomatoes, onion, green chilli, ginger and garlic into a thick paste. Heat oil in a pot or pressure cooker and saute bay leaf for 1 minute. Add blended paste to the oil along with spices (salt, red chilli & turmeric) and saute until all the water dries up and oil begins to separate.

Rinse brown lentils and add them to the pot along with stock (water). Let the lentils simmer for 25-30 minutes on medium heat until they are completely cooked and soft to the touch. Alternatively, you can pressure cook lentils for 10-12 minutes.

For tempering your dal (lentils), heat ghee in a small pan and add sliced garlic, dried chillies and green/red chillies. Fry until garlic slices are a light golden colour, then add Garam Masala. After adding Garam Masala immediately remove pan from heat and pour its entire contents over hot dal. Serve hot with rice or Naan.

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