Dal is a staple food in the Indian subcontinent and can be eaten at any time of the day. There are many preparations of dal depending on the region the recipe originates from, the ingredients used and what it is served with. Such as this kaali daal that is made with black gram lentils which I love having with rice. Today I am sharing another favourite recipe of mine for moong masoor dal or dal made with red and yellow lentils. This type of dal is popular in India and Pakistan, and can be served with either roti / chapati or rice.
How to make Moong Masoor Dal?
To make this dal recipe, there are two types of lentils required. One is masoor dal also known as red/orange lentils and are basically red lentils, split and skinned. The other is moong dal also known as yellow lentils or mung beans, split and skinned. Both types of lentils should be easily available at any big supermarket, or at an Indian and Pakistani grocer.
Measure out the two types of dal in a bowl and clean them properly – remove any stones or debris and then wash the lentils. It’s not necessary to soak masoor dal or moong dal as they both quickly but I usually soak them for a few minutes till I prepare the rest of the ingredients. Heat oil in a pan, and saute ginger garlic paste and turmeric. Add the two types of lentils and cook them till they are soft. Stir vigorously with a whisk, or use a wooden spoon or an immersion blender to mash up the dal and create a smooth and chunky texture. Add more water if required at this stage, otherwise cook for a few minutes on low simmer till soft and tender.
Meanwhile, prepare the tempering on the side. Heat oil in a pan and then add the onions, garlic cloves, red chillies and cumin seeds one after the other. Pour the tempering ingredients over the dal, and mix through.
What is tempering, and how it can be used to change the flavour of dal:
The technique of tempering (also known as tarka or baghaar) is very unique to Indian and Pakistani cooking, and used in many different recipes. It can be done at the beginning of the cooking process or at the end, like was done in making this moong masoor dal. Oil is heated till hot, and then onions, ginger, garlic and/or spices are added to the oil. As the spices and herbs are fried off in the oil, their aroma and flavour is released, and infused into the dal when the tempering is added.
Every tempering ingredient adds a unique flavour to the final dish so by varying the tempering ingredients, one can create many versions of the same dal. In the case of this moong masoor dal, some tempering combinations that are possible include:
- Sliced garlic only
- Sliced onions + sliced garlic
- Cumin seeds only
- Cumin seeds + green chillies
- Sliced onion + cumin seeds + green chillies
Just remember to add ingredients one by one, and in the right order starting with the ingredient that takes the longest time to cook. Ingredients need to be cooked enough for them to release their flavour and aroma. So that can take 2 – 3 minutes for sliced onions, and 30 seconds or so for spices.
What to serve with dal?
Dal can be served with rice, usually basmati but brown rice is also a delicious option providing a nutty flavour that complements the dal quite well. It can also be served with roti, chapati, naan and even bread. I prefer to keep it on the dryer side when serving with bread, and on the liquid side when serving with rice. Dal can be served on its own, but as it’s such a simple dish, it is usually served with a few sides that add texture and flavour. Some popular sides include pickles (achaar), fried green chillies, kachumber salad (made with onions, tomatoes, and cucumber), pappadums or shami kebabs.
If you are looking for other Desi vegetarian recipes, check out the following:
- Taheri (Aloo chawal) – Rice and Potato Pilaf
- Kaali daal or khari masoor ki daal – Black Gram Lentils
- Aloo Matar Sabzi (Potato with Peas Curry)
- Aloo Hari Piyaaz (Potato curry with Spring Onions)
- Karhi or Pakora Karhi
Would love it if you could try out and rate the recipe, and let me know how it was in the comments below!
Moong Masoor Dal | Red and Yellow Lentil Curry
For the dal:
- ½ cup red lentils masoor dal
- ½ cup yellow lentils moong dal
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ½ small onion sliced (optional)
- 4 garlic cloves sliced
- 2 whole red chilli (dried)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- coriander leaves for garnish
For the dal:
Measure out red lentils (masoor dal) and yellow lentils (moong dal) and wash them. These don’t need to be soaked as they cook pretty quickly, but I usually soak them for a few minutes till I am gathering the rest of the ingredients.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot.
Add onion, garlic paste, ginger paste and turmeric powder. Saute for a minute and then add the lentils along with salt. Add water, stir through and bring to a boil.
Once the water comes to a boil, put heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes till lentils are soft. If using a pressure cooker this will take 2 minutes. At this point, I use a whisk or a wooden spoon to mix the lentils vigorously. This mashes the lentils up creating like a thick chunky stew. You can also use an immersion blender. Add more water if desired, or just cook it for a few minutes if a thicker gravy is preferred.
For the tempering:
Few minutes before the lentils are done, heat oil for tempering in a small frying pan or small wok. Once the oil is hot, add onions and fry till light golden. Then add the garlic cloves and saute for a minute till they turn golden brown. Then add the whole red chillies followed by the cumin seeds.
Cook for about 30 seconds - 1 minute till the cumin and red chillies change colour and release their aroma.
Carefully pour the tempering mixture over the lentils (including the oiand mix through. Serve with rice, roti, chapati or naan.
The amount of water used in a daal recipe depends on personal preference. I adjust depending on how I am going to eat the dal. If I am eating with roti, I will add less water and make it more thick and stew-like. If I am eating with rice, I will add more water to make it more liquid and coat the rice better.