Whole Masoor Dal – Brown Lentils Recipe

It’s no secret that lentils are your friend, as these are great source of natural protein. Whole masoor dal also known as sabut masoor dal or brown lentils is comfort and simple food. Pair up this dal along with rice, roti, quinoa or even as soup, and you still get the same delicious taste. This masoor dal recipe is vegan (as long as not adding ghee), as well as you can make it gluten free too. This masoor dal (or brown lentils) recipe is simple and easy to follow.

Brown Lentils - Sabut Masoor Dal
Brown Lentils – Sabut Masoor Dal

What is Brown Lentils

Masoor dal is normally referred as red lentils. This red lentils is split version, normally when grown this dal is brown and un-divided or broken. Brown lentils or whole masoor dal is the unbroken and unwashed version of masoor dal. Whole = Sabut in hindi, hence also called “Sabut Masoor Dal”. In its natural format, it is brown in color and hence brown lentils.

In northern part of India and punjabis also call this with the name of Malka dal.


Brown lentils are major source of fibre, probably the most fibre which you can get from any dal (lentil). This whole masoor dal also contains huge amount of proteins, as well calcium, iron and potassium.

I grew up in northern part of India and dal was staple food in my home. My mum will make dal almost everyday and now I make dal very so often to make sure my family is getting good supply of natural protein and fibre.


To make sure, we do not get bored of eating dal everyday, my mum will make different dals everyday. Some day it will be masoor, some day moong, some day toor, basically we would have a variety of daals to keep us content with taste. Occasionally, my mum will make dal makhni or lauki chana dal too.

Sabut Masoor Dal - Brown Lentils Recipe
Sabut Masoor Dal Recipe – Brown Lentils Recipe

Most of the dals are gluten-free and vegan when uncooked, and depending on your cooking procedure dal may remain gluten-free and vegan. Me and my family do not have dietary requirements to be vegan or gluten free, hence I not worry too much on that. I will however, surely suggest what needs to be done to keep dal gluten free and vegan.

Ingredients

  • Whole masoor lentil – As the name suggests, you need to have raw brown lentils as the key ingredient.
  • Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Tomatoes – I use all these four to give flavour to the dal.
  • Spices – I use few basic Indian spices, such as cumin seeds, coriander powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder, asafoetida and garam masala. Normally you will find all these spices in your kitchen cupboard. If you live outside India like me, you can find all these spices in super stores.
  • Oil, butter or ghee – These greasing agents are required to fry onion, garlic etc, as well as if you want to give tadka (tempering) to your dal. I normally use clarified butter / ghee for tempering as well as for frying onions. Some people use ghee only for tempering.
Whole Masoor Dal Recipe
Whole Masoor Dal – Brown lentils recipe

Method

You can make this dal on stove top / pan, pressure cooker or instant pot. To make it in pressure cooker, see the steps below.

  • Wash and soak lentils for 20-25 minutes. After that, transfer them into the pressure cooker and add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 cups of water to it. Cover the cooker with lid and let it cook on medium high heat till you get 3-4 whistles from pressure cooker.
  • Switch off the heat and let the pressure release itself. Meanwhile, let’s prepare our tadka for the lentils.
  • Heat clarified butter/ghee in a pan over medium heat and add asafoetida and cumin seeds to it. Once they crackle, add chopped onions to it
  • Sauté till onions become little golden, add chopped garlic and grated ginger and sauté till the raw smell fades away and subsequently add all the spices and rest half teaspoon salt to it and sauté again.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and cook till the mixture starts leaving oil. Add 1/3 cup water to it now and let it boil. Once it starts boiling, switch off the heat.
  • Open the pressure cooker after the pressure is released and transfer the tadka to the dal and mix well.

To make in Instant Pot


To make this dal in instant pot, the steps are largely the same as that used for pressure cooker. The minor variations are at the point when you start cooking, keep the setting of instant pot to sauté. Add asafoetida and cumin seeds and then sauté onions, garlic, ginger and all the spices, including tomatoes. After adding water, change the settings to manual or pressure cook for 7-8 mins, and then release the pressure naturally.

Finally prepare tempering and add the tempering on the dal, note that the tempering is optional. I however, prefer a nice tempered dal. To prepare temper for dal, take a small cup sized pan, and put on medium heat, add butter or ghee, add cumin seeds, red chilli powder, and dried red chillies. Sometimes I add mustard seeds too, however it all depends on personal taste too.

Stove top process for dal making

Stove top process for making this dal is same as that of pressure cooking, only that you do not pressure cook. You need to cover the pan so that dal can cook in steam, use medium heat. Stove top cooking will take longer to cook this dal.

Pro tips for best sabut masoor dal

  • Soak this dal for 20-25 mins prior to cooking. Soaking dal will bread down the complex nature of dal, making dal more digestible as well as help in cooking faster.
  • A good tadka enhances the taste of dal by multiple times. For best taste give tadka with ghee (unless allergic to ghee).
  • Left over dal? You can freeze this dal for future use. Once dal is at room temperature, pack it in an air tight container. You can keep it frozen for 3 months with out any problem.
  • This whole masoor dal takes relatively longer to digest, hence try this in your afternoon meal.
  • This masoor dal gets thicker after cooling, make sure that your water quantity is appropriate while cooking.
Sabut masoor dal recipe - Your Food Fantasy
Sabut masoor dal recipe – Brown Lentils recipe

This Sabut masoor dal

  • Is easy to make, using one pot either in pressure cooker, instant pot or even stove top
  • Absolutely comforting and delicious in taste
  • Full of fibre and protein, and good for daily consumption
  • Pairs well with rice, roti, quinoa or on its own as soup, with a slice of bread
  • Suitable for home freezing

Serving suggestion for masoor dal

This brown lentils is bit thick and takes time to digest, it also gets thicker as it settles, hence its more suitable with roti, or if you wish to have it with rice, increase the water quantity to keep it fluid enough. Normally this dal takes relatively longer time to digest as against plain masoor dal, hence I recommend that you eat this dal at least 3-4 hour before sleeping, ideally as your afternoon meal.

Dal Lover?

If you love your lentils / dals as much as I do, you will certainly love trying these following dals

Recipe Card

Whole Masoor Dal Recipe - Brown Lentils

Whole Masoor Dal

Meenu Gupta
Comforting whole masoor dal or brown lentils for any day meal, simply satisfying and filling.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Soaking 20 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Lunch & Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 4
Calories 382 kcal

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 Cup Brown Lentils
  • 1 Onion Medium size, finely chopped
  • 4 Garlic Cloves Finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger Grated
  • 2 Tomatoes Medium size, chopped
  • 2 Green chillies Chopped
  • 1/3 Tsp Asafoetida
  • 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/3 Tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • 3 Tbsp Ghee / Clarified Butter

Instructions
 

  • Wash and soak lentils for 20-25 minutes. After that, transfer them into the pressure cooker and add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 cups of water to it. Cover the cooker with lid and let it cook on medium high heat till you get 3-4 whistles from pressure cooker.
  • Switch off the heat and let the pressure release itself. Meanwhile let’s prepare our tadka for the lentils.
  • Heat clarified butter/ghee in a pan over medium heat and add asafoetida and cumin seeds to it. Once they crackle, add chopped onions to it
  • Sauté till onions become little golden, add chopped garlic and grated ginger and sauté till the raw smell fades away. Add all the spices and rest half teaspoon salt to it and sauté again.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and cook till the mixture starts leaving oil. Add 1/3 cup water to it now and let it boil. Once it starts boiling, switch off the heat.
  • Open the pressure cooker after the pressure is released and transfer the tadka to the Dal and mix well. You can transfer the dal to tadka too if you using a big pan to make tadka.
  • Transfer it to a serving bowl and serve hot. Enjoy it with rice or bread of your choice.
    Whole Masoor Dal recipe - YourFoodFantasy.com

Notes

  • These lentils tastes best when desi ghee is used for making tadka, however to make it vegan, you can use olive oil too.
  • Pressure cooking time can vary depending upon the pressure cooker. Lentils should be nicely boiled and soft when the lid is removed from the cooker.
  • To prepare temper for dal, take a small cup sized pan, and put on medium heat, add butter or ghee, add cumin seeds, red chilli powder, and dried red chillies. Sometimes I add mustard seeds too, however it all depends on personal taste too. A good tempered dal tastes awesome.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Whole Masoor Dal
Amount Per Serving
Calories 382 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 26mg9%
Sodium 102mg4%
Potassium 914mg26%
Carbohydrates 52g17%
Fiber 24g100%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 20g40%
Vitamin A 555IU11%
Vitamin C 18mg22%
Calcium 68mg7%
Iron 6mg33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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