Curries/ Recipes/ Vegetarian

Masoor Daal (Brown Lentil Curry)

Traditionally, we are rice eaters but Rajesh loves all varieties of bread, it can be the Indian kind like rotis, chapathis, phulkas, parathas, etc and the western ones as well.  He says that while he was growing up, he used to love certain combinations of food and one of them was roti with a specific lentil curry that his mother used prepare.   I had eaten it a couple of times when we had visited home.  He was reminded of this curry when we came across lentils in the store the other day and I decided to make this for him today.   This dish is easy to prepare and goes well with white rice too.


  • Sabut Masoor Daal (brown lentils) - 1 cup
  • Water - 2 cups
  • Potato - 1, large
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Onions - 3, medium sized, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes - 2, large, finely chopped
  • Turmeric pwdr - 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilly pwdr - 1 tsp (more or less depending on your taste)
  • Garam masala pwdr - 1 tsp
  • Cilantro - for garnish, finely chopped



Wash thoroughly and then soak the daal in 2 cups of water for about 2-3 hours.


Peel and chop potatoes into cubes.


Pressure cook the soaked daal with the water its soaked in, the potato cubes and salt to taste. It varies from one pressure cooker to another to figure out the number of whistles it needs for the daal to be cooked, mine took just one whistle. Set aside. Open the pressure cooker only when the pressure has gone down from the cooker.


Heat oil in a stockpot. Season with cumin seeds. When cumin seeds crackle, add the chopped onions. Fry till light brown.


Add in the chopped tomatoes and fry till pulpy.


Once you see oil oozing from the sides, its time to add in the dry powders.


Add the turmeric powder, red chilly powder and garam masala powder and mix well.


Saute for a couple of minutes.


Pour in the cooked daal with the stock and potatoes to this mixture, mix well and bring it to a boil. You may need to add a little salt at this point. The daal already has salt, so go easy on the salt.


Simmer on medium heat for 8-10 minutes.


Garnish with finely chopped cilantro.


Serve hot with white rice or jeera rice or rotis or any bread of your choice.


  • If you do not have a pressure cooker, the daal can be cooked in a regular stockpot as well.  The daal will have to be soaked for a longer period of time, you will need to add 4-5 cups of water, cover and cook for almost an hour or so.  Keep checking and stirring at regular intervals.  The daal has to be soft, not mushy.
  • After the daal is cooked, if you find that you’ve added more water, here is a tip my mom-in-law gave me.  Blend 1/2 a tomato and about 3 tablespoons of the cooked daal till smooth and add this to the fried onion, tomato and spice mixture.  Add the cooked daal and potato cubes and proceed with the rest of the recipe. (A few sprigs of cilantro can be added as well. I am partial to cilantro, but for those who don’t like the taste of cilantro, this step is optional)
  • If required, a tablespoon of ginger and garlic paste can be added to this recipe as well.  My mom-in-law did not use it but I am sure it will taste very good.

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