Mamta's Kitchen

Tarka Dal 3, Cooked Red Lentil

Tarka Dal 3, Dhuli Masoor



This is the dal that is served as 'tarka dal' in many Indian restaurants in UK. I worked for years in an Indian restaurant, and made it all the time. The yellow peas will not dissolve to a mush like the red lentil, so you get a good texture to the dal. It goes well with rice.

Also see Tarka Dal 1.

Serves 3-4


  • 200 gm. red lentil (dhuli masoor dal) (readily available in western grocers as well as eastern shops)

  • 50 gm. skinless chana dal or split Bengal gram (black chickpeas). Chana takes longer to cook and should be soaked for at least a couple of hours

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder

  • Enough boiling water to cover lentils and an inch or two above

  • Wash and drain lentil.

  • Tarka:

  • 2 tbsp. ghee or butter

  • 1 tbsp. sunflower or vegetable oil

  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped/grated

  • 1/2 medium or 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped

  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder (adjust to taste)

  • Garnish

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon/lime

  • A handful of chopped coriander leaves

  • 7-8 curry leaves (optional)


  1. Boil in salted water, along with turmeric, until the red lentils turn to mush and the yellow peas are soft, but not mushy. This should take about 30-40 minutes. If it begins to look dry, add more boiling water, don't let the water evaporate fully.

  2. Now heat the ghee and oil to a medium-hot, add cumin and mustard seeds. When they splutter, add garlic, onion and fry until medium/dark brown, but not burnt. The trick for the real restaurant flavour is to get the onions and garlic to brown, but not burnt, you need them caramelised not charcoaled.

  3. Add chili powder, if you like it hot.

  4. Pour over lentils and cover.

  5. Add a big squeeze of lemon juice, chopped coriander leaves and torn curry leaves.

  6. Serve with serve with Boiled Rice and Chapatties or Tandoori Roti or Nans.

  7. Also see Dal Selection.

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