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Masoor Dal

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Masoor Dal is one of the quickest and delicious dals you can make.

If you like dal and don’t have a lot of time, then masoor dal is the one for you. You just need to rinse the lentils and then cook them for about 20 minutes. You will love the flavour of the tarka that you pour over the lentils just before serving. 

Keralan Masoor Dhal with Coconut

This masoor dal is  good on its own or served over plain rice. This is comfort food at its best!

About this masoor dal recipe

Masoor dal are the little split red lentils you see at almost every Asian shop and at supermarkets. You can source them easily and the cook quickly. The masoor lentils are high in protein and nutritious. 

How do you serve masoor dal?

You may have been served masoor dal without even knowing it. At many curry houses, it’s masoor lentils they use for the tarka dal. I have a curry house version for you here.

In the West, masoor dal is usually served as a side dish but it can also be served over rice or with homemade chapatis and served as a main.

What do you serve with this dal?

You can serve masoor dal with whatever you like. If you are serving the dal as a side dish for a curry, I have hundreds of curries for you to try. Why not give some of these new one pot curry house style curries a try?

If you would like to serve your masoor dal with naans, I have you covered! Try instant naans, Peshwari naans, stove top naans, keema naans, garlic naans, tandoor naans (if you have a tandoor oven), or if you’re cooking outdoors, karahi naans.

Can you work ahead?

Yes. Feel free to cook the masoor dal a couple of days ahead of serving. It keeps really well in the fridge for about 3 days. You can also prepare the tarka for the dal a couple of days ahead of serving.

Then just heat your dal and tarka. Pour the tarka over the dal and serve.

Is this masoor dal vegan?

Yes. It’s 100% vegan dal. The addition of coconut, you will find that the coconut cream in the recipe gives it a creamy texture that is not to be missed!

Do you have any vegan curries that can be served with this dal?

Yes! You really need to try rajma, a kidney bean curry from the Punjab. Just leave out the ghee or use a vegan alternative. Black eyed pea curry and broccoli curry from Kerala are both delicious served with this dal.

Step by step photos…

Cooking the masoor dal and adding coconut cream and turmeric.

Start by cooking the dhal. Once soft, add the coconut cream and turmeric.

Tempering spices in a pan to make a tarka for the dal.

To make the tarka, heat some oil and temper the whole spices and curry leaves.

Adding the remaining ingredients and simmering the dal until soft.

Add the rest of the tarka ingredients and fry for a further five minutes until the onions are soft.

The prepared tarka poured over the dal

Pour the tarka over the cooked dhal and stir well.

Finished masoor dal, seasoned with salt and garnished with coriander (cilantro).

Season with salt to taste and garnish with the chopped coriander.


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Yield: 4 - 6

Keralan Masoor Dhal With Coconut

Keralan Masoor Dhal With Coconut
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 200g masoor dhal – rinsed and soaked in water for 10 minutes
  • Water to cook
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 200ml thick coconut milk
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 4 tbsp. rapeseed or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 3 dried Kashmiri chillies – broken into pieces and seeds removed
  • 1 red onion – finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic – finely sliced
  • 3 green chillies


  1. Cover the masoor lentils with fresh water in a saucepan and simmer over medium high heat until soft. This should take about 20 minutes. Skim off any foam that comes to the top. Once soft, add the turmeric and coconut milk and simmer for a further five minutes.
  2. To save time, you can make the tarka while the lentils are cooking. To make the tarka, heat the oil over medium high heat in a small frying pan. When visibly hot, add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, stir in the cumin seeds, curry leaves and Kashmiri chillies. Allow this all to sizzle in the oil for about 30 seconds and then add the chopped onion.
  3. Fry the onion until translucent and soft. About five minutes should do the trick. Now add the garlic and green chillies. You only want to soften the garlic so be careful not to burn it or it will become bitter.
  4. When the dhal is cooked, pour the tarka mixture over the top. Season with salt to taste and garnish with the chopped coriander. You can eat this on its own or serve over rice.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 203Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 175mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g

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I hope you enjoy this masoor dal recipe. It’s really easy! If you have any questions or if you tried it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.


Sunday 4th of March 2018

This was beautiful, absolutely lovely. I served it with plain boiled rice and your chicken tikka (also amazing) and I'm finding it hard to believe I created something so delicious. Still grinning! Thank you and keep up the hard work!


Dan Toombs

Tuesday 6th of March 2018

Thank you very much Liz! I'm really happy you are enjoying the recipes.


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