Masra di Dal Recipe {Red Lentils}

masra di dal punjabi style

When I think of home style Punjabi cooking, masra di dal (red lentils) is one of the first dishes that comes to mind. This quick cooking lentil is served frequently in most Punjabi homes with hot phulkas (roti/chappati), or over rice. It’s one of those dishes that I never get tired of, in fact, I usually make this at least once a week, and it’s my go-to lunch.

Masra di dal also happens to be my specialty. It’s the one dish I never mess up; it’s most requested by guests, and it’s the first Indian dish I learned to cook that tasted like something my mom made. I’ll never forget how surprised I was the first time I made a pot of this dal that actually tasted authentic – it was one of my proudest moments ever.

There is a twist to how I make this dal (which is why I think it tastes so yummy). I add two servings of garlic and ginger instead of just one tempering. Mom tells me it’s wrong to add so much tadka (tempering), but she never turns me down when I offer to send over some masra di dal, so I’m guessing she thinks it tastes good too!

If you are new to cooking dal this is the perfect one to get your feet wet with and gain some confidence in the kitchen. 

Masra di Dal Recipe:

masra di dal recipe

Ingredients {4 Servings}:

For the dal (lentils):
1 cup of masar (red lentils) washed

5 cups of water
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 piece inch piece of ginger chopped 
1/2 tbsp salt 
1/4 tbsp turmeric
1/4 tbsp coriander powder

For the tadka (tempering):
1 tbsp ghee
2 dried Kashmiri chillis
1/4 tbsp salt
1 small onion chopped
1 chopped tomato
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 piece inch piece of ginger chopped
1 chopped green chilli (optional)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Start by adding the washed lentils and water to your pot. Also add the Kashmiri chili, turmeric, coriander powder, and salt. Stir well, and add in the chopped garlic and ginger.

Note: I use dried Kashmiri chillies because they add a smokey flavour and just a little heat. If you like a spicy dal you can use red chilly powder instead. My kids are not fans of spicy food so I leave it out.


Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium, cover with a lid, and simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes check the dal’s consistency. If it’s gotten too thick you can add half a cup of water, or just let it finish cooking for another 5 minutes if you are happy with the consistency. {Total cooking time 20 minutes}.

masar di dal recipemasar di dal recipe


Once the dal has softened you can start working on the tadka (tempering). Add the ghee to a frying pan and add in your chopped onion. Let the onion sweat out and caramelize before adding the garlic, ginger, and green chilli. Add salt to this mixture.

After cooking down the onion mixture add in your tomatoes and chopped cilantro. Cook the tomatoes until they become soft.

When your tadka mixture is ready, add a few spoonfuls of dal to your frying pan. This will sizzle! The idea is to sort of “deglaze” the pan and pick up all of the yummy onion flavour. Add this whole mixture back into the dal and let it cook together for 2-3 minutes, garnish with a little more chopped cilantro, and it’s ready to serve!

masra di dal

masra di dal recipemasra di dal recipe

{I feel like I should mention…I’ve been using the camping stove to do recipe photos because I can get much better step by step pics this way. I don’t usually cook at the kitchen table!}

This dal recipe is great for busy weeknights because it only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish including chopping. Some nights I even speed the process up further by using 2 frozen tadka cubes for the tempering rather than making it fresh. 

If you put on a pot of rice while the dal is cooking, and whip up some cucumber raita, it’s the perfect 30 minute meal. It’s even great for your lunch the next day. I’ve got my tiffin ready to go!masara di dal recipe



Masra Di Dal {Red Lentels} Punjabi Style Recipe | Pink Chai



  1. February 2, 2015 / 12:03 pm

    Oh wow – my mouth is watering! Love your pictures and step-by-step instructions. Love all the things you have in your tiffin. A 30 minute meal sounds about right to me!

  2. February 2, 2015 / 3:08 pm

    YUM! Love how simple this is. Will definitely be making this soon!

  3. Jessy
    November 2, 2015 / 2:47 pm

    I made this on the weekend and it was a hit. Thank you Raj for this amazing recipe! 🙂

    • November 2, 2015 / 4:33 pm

      That’s great to hear! I’m glad you liked it, and thanks for letting me know 🙂

  4. Sandy
    March 18, 2016 / 10:33 am

    Great recipe…so authentic. 🙂
    So many bad pseudo dhal recipes out there.
    Have made this several times. Sometimes adding spinach to this , kicking up the nutrional value even more.

  5. Gazeee
    January 7, 2019 / 3:29 am

    A bit confused the ingredients states small onion twice – once with dhal and then the tadka but then only mentioned once on th instructions? Anyone clear this for me please

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