Masoor Daal or red masoor lentils are one of my favorites. They cook pretty quickly without a pressure cooker. And they are pretty easy on the tummy too compared to toor daal or chana daal.
We have a few different ways of making masoor daal at home, and this one is my favorite.
#30daysofdaal has almost become a habit. For those who are new here, I am cooking and blogging about a new daal recipe every day in the month of June. It is sort of challenging because I have got out of the habit of cooking and eating a balanced Indian meal everyday. Plus, it is tough to do things on a schedule. Luckily, I have managed until now. But I do need your support and encouragement. Hint – comments, shares, Likes etc.
This Masoor Daal with Onion is not as complicated as the Dhansak or even the Black Masoor daal I blogged about earlier. Why should the onion be highlighted here? I will tell you why. Traditional Maharashtrian cooking does not involve heavy use of onion and garlic. In fact, there are some months in the year when we totally abstain from these. Consider it a sort of limited fasting or Lent.
A vegetarian diet doesn’t have many enticing aspects in terms of variety or texture. Of course, this point is arguable, but I am comparing it to different kinds of creatures that carnivores have available to them. I think what I am trying to illustrate, poorly, is how and why the humble onion can be so important flavor wise that it will be the star of a dish.
Rains are the time for onion pakoras, and rains and storms were a large part of the small seaside village my mom hails from. Fresh vegetables were few and far in between, and onions were coveted because they had a long shelf life. Thalipeeth, Jhunka, Pithla etc. are some Maharashtrian mainstays that feature the onion and so is this daal.
Whenever we wanted something different for dinner, or were bored with the same old stuff, we had this onion daal to liven up the tedium.
The recipe itself is simple. Don’t be scared by the big red chili, it is just a garnish. I am using curry leaves for added flavor but they are optional. You could add mint or cilantro for something green. I am using just a little bit of goda masala which is also optional because the onion is the star of the dish. We do not want any strong spices to overshadow the onion flavor.
This simple masoor daal with onion can be eaten as a soup, and best served with steaming hot rice.
Masoor Daal with Onion Recipe
- ½ cup red masoor lentils
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 4-5 curry leaves
- ¼ tsp mustard seeds
- Pinch of hing or Asafoetida
- 1 tsp turmeric ground
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp goda masala optional
- ½ tsp sugar
- Salt to taste
- Pressure cook Masoor daal with double the water and turmeric. Alternately, just rinse and drain and keep aside.
- Heta oil in a wok.
- Add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Add hing, turmeric, cayenne pepper in rapid succession.
- Add the onions and fry them for a couple of minutes.
- Now add cooked daal or rinsed daal.
- Season with salt and a pinch of sugar.
- Add some water to get desired consistency if you are using cooked daal.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Serve hot.
- If you are using rinsed uncooked daal, add roughly 2-3 times the water, bring to a boil and simmer until cooked and creamy. This may take 20-25 minutes or more.
- Serve hot with rice.
Masoor Daal with onions is a simple Indian recipe. Do you still think Indian food requires a ton of complex ingredients?
Try this out and let me know how you liked it.