Masoor daal with Onion tadka

" Masoor Daal"

Comfy, nutritious and full of earthy flavors. That says it all about this dish. Daal/Lentil is one of the primary foods of an Indian meal. It can be used as main dish or can be added to a dish as an ingredient. In this case I have used it as a main ingredient to make daal/stew out of it. Back home in India, my mom cooks daal every morning along with curry, salad, roti and chawal. Every household has their own signature recipe to make a daal. Oh by the way let me mention that we get of lentil varieties in India. You can make daal, sambhar, puran poli etc..using different lentils.

Daal-chawal is V’s all time favorite food. He can eat it every day. I always had daal-chawal with roti-sabzi so it is kind of hard for me to just eat dal-chawal itself. But I am still adapting it. That does not mean I do not enjoy this comfort food!! I love it sometimes 🙂

I was not a big fan of this particular Daal because I never had it back home. Since it was totally new ingredient to me, I was trying to adapt the taste and did not like it :(. But one day I was just browsing through food blogs and I found this beautiful recipe of Soma’s Masoor daal. I liked her idea of serving it with fried onions. So I told convinced myself to give it one more try. And guess what, I loved it. Now this Daal is on my favorite dish list!!

Here I am tempering the daal twice, once while cooking so all the flavors can mix with the daal and second time while serving so one can enjoy the taste of caramelized onions. Believe me it’s worth an effort to temper it second time, it takes the daal to another level.

Here you go…enjoy my modified version of Masoor Daal tempered with caramelized onions.

Masoor Daal with Onion Tadka/ Red lentil stew tempered with caramelized onions

Total time: About 30 minutes


  • 1 cup red lentils/masoor daal
  • 5 cups water (Use more if needed)
  • 1 large onion (half chopped, half sliced)
  • 1 big tomato – diced
  • 1 green chili small – chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 red dry whole chilies
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 kadhi patta (Curry leaves)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil + ½ Tbsp for tadka
  • Salt to taste
  • Hing a pinch
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • fresh cilantro/coriander leaves and lemon juice to garnish
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (Optional, just to sprinkle on daal when you serve it)


  1. Wash and soak daal in 5 cups of water with salt and turmeric. Keep it aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds, hing, curry leaves, bay leaf and the red whole dry chili pepper. Once the seeds sizzle add chopped green chili, sliced garlic and chopped onions. Saute onions till they become translucent. Add a pinch of salt to it. It will take about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Now add soaked daal with water, salt, turmeric powder along with coriander powder and chopped tomatoes. Cover and simmer till the lentils are fully cooked for about 15-20 minutes. Add more water if needed to get the desired consistency. Do not overcook it. Add half the chopped coriander leaves and taste the salt amount.
  4. Remove from the heat and prepare for the tadka to garnish.
  5. In a small pan heat 1/2 Tbsp oil on medium heat. When oil is hot, add sliced onions along with a pinch of salt and roasted cumin powder. Let the onions caramelize.  Serve over the daal and sprinkle with some paprika, lemon juice and chopped coriander leaves.
  6. Serve hot with Rice/Roti.
Enjoy this comfy meal!