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Lal Masoor Dal Tadka: Indian-Style Red Lentil Curry Recipe

Rajan loves cooking dishes from his native Indian cuisine. He enjoys sharing his favourite recipes with his online readers.

Lal masoor dal tadka

Lal masoor dal tadka

Dal is one of the most popular, versatile, healthy, filling, and delicious of Indian side dishes. It can be made thick or thin, and it can be made with any kind of lentil.

Lal masoor dal tadka is a spice-tempered red lentil curry dish. You can serve it with roti or rice. In this recipe the dal has been tempered twice with different spices each time, making it an unforgettable experience of flavor and taste.

Try it and let me know what you think in the comments.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

45 min

1 hour

3-4 servings


For boiling the dal:

  • 1 cup lal masoor dal (red lentils)
  • 2 teaspoons desi ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 tej patta (bay leaf)
  • 1 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 4-5 granules heeng (asafoetida)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped small
  • 1 sliced green chilli
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped small
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric) powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons coriander powder
  • the soaked dal
  • 3 cups water

After opening the pressure cooker:

  • 2 tbsp chopped hara dhania (cilantro)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala

For the tadka (tempering the dal):

  • 1 tbsp desi ghee
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 fresh red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder


  1. Wash the lentils until the water runs clear. Then soak in sufficient water for 30 minutes.
  2. Keep a pressure cooker on low medium heat. Add the desi ghee and let it get hot. Add the tej patta, heeng and jeera. Saute until the jeera crackles.
  3. Add the chopped onion and green chilli. Saute until the onion turns pink.
  4. Reduce the heat to low. Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for 1 minute.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and raise the heat to medium. Stir well and add the dry spices: salt, red chilli powder, haldi powder and coriander powder. Mix well and stir cook the tomatoes until they turn soft.
  6. Add the soaked dal. Reduce the heat to low-medium and stir-roast the dal for 3-4 minutes.
  7. Add the water, stir a few times and close the pressure cooker. Raise the heat to high and at the first whistle put off the heat. Open the cooker when the pressure subsides.
  8. The dal will be soft but needs to be cooked for about 5-7 minutes. At this time you can add water if the dal is thick or straightaway cook the dal if it is watery. We added about 1/4 cup of water. Add the hara dhania and garam masala and mix well. Keep the heat on low-medium and cook the dal. Stir a few times while it is cooking.
  9. When the dal is ready, transfer it to a bowl. You can serve it now but we will go a step further and temper it with a few spices.
  10. Keep a tadka pan on low heat. Add the desi ghee and once it is a little hot put in the chopped garlic and fresh red chillies. Stir until the garlic starts to turn brown. Add the kashmiri red chilli powder to the tempering and stir it then pour the tempering over the dal. Stir the dal a few times.
  11. Lal masoor dal tadka is ready for serving.

© 2022 Rajan Singh Jolly