Chatpata Masoor dal recipe | Whole Masoor dal

Whole masoor dal – is a delicious Indian whole brown lentils recipe that is super easy and quick to make. This masoor dal recipe makes a sort of thick curry. So, it can be had with rotis, parathas, bhakris, bread, pav (buns), quinoa, rice, or even as a soup.

Being a South Indian, toor dal is a staple in our home. I grew up eating the most comfort food dal chawal, with variation in tuvar dal. So every day, lunch or dinner would start with toor dal being cooked in the pressure cooker.

While in Maharashtra, mom learned a few local dishes from the neighbors and masoor dal is one of them. It tastes so good that mom used to make it quite often. This dal got added to my favorites list since childhood.

Growing up in Mumbai and Pune, I got used to many whole lentils like green gram (whole moong), black-eyed peas (chawli), rajma (kidney beans), dew gram beans (matki), white peas (safad vatana).

masoor dal recipe

What is Masoor Dal?

If you are new to Indian cooking, it might be confusing why the lentil and the dish have the same name.

In India, Dal (also spelled “dahl” or “dhal” or “daal”) is a generic Hindi word for Lentils. Also, uncooked/dry lentils and cooked lentils are called Dal.

You need dal (lentils) to cook dal (lentils curry/stew).

If it’s your first time with masoor dal, while shopping for them you might get confused as both red lentils and brown lentils are called masoor dal in Hindi.

The different types of Massor Dal or Lentils are:
– Red/Orange/Pink color Lentils or Split Masoor Dal
– Indian brown Lentils or Whole/Sabut Masoor Dal

masoor dal types

What is Chatpata Masoor Dal?

In Indian food, the word Chatpata describes dishes that have spicy, sweet, and tangy flavors. In this recipe, the tomato sauce adds a chatpata taste. This ingredient takes the dish to next level.

The different flavors is the key feature of this masoor dal recipe. As soon as you put a morsel in your mouth you can feel the spicy, sweet, and tangy flavors.

About Whole Masoor dal recipe

The recipe I’m sharing today is a basic whole masoor dal recipe. However, you can add your own twist and make various variations. There are numerous variations too which I have mentioned below.

The whole masoor dal recipe is straightforward, cooked masoor is simmered in a base gravy made of onion, tomatoes, ginger-garlic, and basic Indian spices.

Compared to other lentils and beans, masoor dal tastes bland. For me, it’s an advantage as the small size lentils absorb all the flavors so much better.

So, I prefer to make the curry medium spicy with spices and aromatics that add a unique layer of aroma and flavor. You can adjust the spices as per your liking.

Most dals start out or end with a tadka/tempering of spices. Also, they need to be precooked. Whereas the cooking process of brown lentils is similar to a curry.

I use a thick bottom pot to make this curry. Like most lentils, you can make them in a traditional pressure cooker, or in an Instapot.

Unlike dal, akkha masoor dal is thick curry and has a creamy texture.

Made with less oil, it’s an excellent choice for calorie-conscious individuals. Pair it with whole-grain/multi-grain bread, millets, or quinoa. The combination is loaded with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

For thick consistency, evaporate the water by cooking on a high flame.

I prepare whole masoor dal once or twice a week. I like to experiment, so whenever I prepare it, I add twists to the dish that can be in thickness, tempering, spices, or even mix moong dal.

whole masoor dal

Reasons to make this lentil curry

The masoor dal recipe is the basic and the simplest way to make this dish.

Gluten-free.

Vegan.

No special masala.

Fuss-free preparation compared to other whole lentils like rajma, chole, or dal makhani.

Need minimal ingredients that are easily available in Indian pantries.

The masoor dal ki sabzi comes together in 30 minutes.

Pairs wonderful with any flatbreads or rice/flavored rice varieties.

Due to the high percentage of dietary fiber, it helps to lower cholesterol and control sugar levels.

Does not need a vegetable side dish.

Leftovers taste better the next day.

Ingredients to make sabut Masoor dal

Brown Lentils: For this recipe, I’ve used Whole masoor dal. It is easily available in any Indian grocery store or online.

Oil: Any cooking oil is fine.

Onion and tomatoes: For base gravy. Select red-colored ripen tomatoes

Ginger-garlic: I use homemade ginger garlic paste. You can add store-bought paste or add finely chopped ginger and garlic.

Whole spices: bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon stick, and cumin seeds.

Spice powders – turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, meat masala, and garam masala.

Tomato sauce/ketchup: For a chatpata (sweet and tangy) taste.

Coriander leaves to garnish.

Salt to taste.

Pro Tips

Use fresh and good-quality lentils. If it’s old stock, you have to adjust the cooking time.

Sort through the masoor dal for any stones, damaged lentils, husks, or debris. Though the quality checks are quite good before packaging, I still occasionally find small stones irrespective of the brand I buy. You do not want anyone to bite into one.

Onion and Tomato quantity: The ratio of onion and tomato can be 1:1 or 1:2.

Finely chop the onions: Finely diced onions when cooked thoroughly will simply melt away into the curry.

Grind the tomatoes to a fine puree for a smooth gravy texture.

Masoor to water ratio: To pressure cook the dal, I add 2.5 cups of water for 1 cup of soaked masoor dal.

Cooking time: It may vary depending on many factors like the quality of masoor dal, the density of the water, capacity of the pressure cooker, and consistency of dal you prefer. I like each grain to retain its shape and firmness. So, I pressure cook for 2-3 whistles. You too can start with the same number of whistles, if it’s still uncooked, increase the number of whistles.

For a mushier thick soupy texture, you can pressure cook for 4-5 whistles and mash the lentils while cooking the curry.

The above cooking time is for the lentils soaked for at least 30 minutes or for a few hours.

Do not discard the water in which the dal was cooked: It contains tons of nutrients from the lentils.

How to make Whole Masoor dal curry

1. Take whole masoor dal in a bowl and check thoroughly for any stones.

2. Add water, rub the dal between your palms, and discard the water. Refill with clean water and repeat the process until the water runs clear.

3. Add clean water (three cups of water per 1 cup of dal) and soak for 8-10 hours. If short on time, soak in hot water for at least 30-60 minutes.

4. In a pressure cooker, add the soaked dal and 2.5 cups of water. Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles on high flame.

If not soaked, pressure cook for 4-5 whistles.

5. Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon stick, and cumin seeds. Let them crackle.

6. Add finely chopped onions and saute on medium flame till they turn a light brown color.

7. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw smell goes away.

8. Turn the flame to low and add spice powders – turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and meat masala. Saute for 5 seconds.

9 & 10. Add 1/4th cup water and continue to saute till oil separates.

11 & 12. Add tomato puree and saute on medium flame till moisture reduces and oil separates.

13. Add salt to taste and give a good mix.

14 & 15. Next, add cooked masoor dal along with the water and mix well.

16. Add tomato sauce/ketchup and mix.

17. Add coriander leaves and mix well.

18. Cover the pan and simmer for 10-15 mins on low flame.

19. Add garam masala and mix. Continue to simmer for 2-3 minutes.

20. Lastly add coriander leaves.

Whole Masoor dal is ready. Serve hot with your choice of rice or roti.

What to serve with Masoor Dal?

The whole masoor dal goes really well with some plain steamed white/ brown rice, plain basmati rice, or jeera rice.

Masoor dal ki sabzi also tastes great with Indian bread like wheat roti, phulka, plain parathas, tandoori roti, bhakri, or naan.

Storage & Freezing

If you like to prepare your meals in advance for a week or month, you can prepare masoor dal in bulk and refrigerate or freeze it.

In the fridge: The masoor curry stays good in the fridge for 3-5 days. Transfer the dal into a clean airtight container and refrigerate. The dal will thicken, so while reheating add little water and adjust the consistency as desired. You can reheat in a microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop.

In the freezer: Before freezing the whole masoor dal, cool it down. Divide into portions and transfer to freezer-safe containers/bags. Freeze for up to 3 months. Make sure the containers/bags are sealed tightly to prevent freezer burn.

Before serving, thaw the frozen pack for a few hours on the kitchen counter or overnight in the fridge. If short on time, you can defrost in the microwave.

Add little water and reheat in a microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop.

Variations

Add vegetables: the options are diced potatoes, spinach, carrot, methi, and make the dish even more nutritious.

Maharashtrian style: You can add kanda lasoon/lasun masala or goda masala as per taste.

Pickle (Achaar) oil: I love to add mango (avakaya) pickle oil, lemon pickle (nimbu achaar) oil, mixed pickle, garlic achaar, etc. It adds another layer of flavor.

Massor dal with pickle oil

To make Dhaba style, you can add a tadka or tempering at the end to enhance the aroma and taste. You can play around with the tempering ingredients to create different flavors and make the dish look fancy.

The options of tempering ingredients are – oil/ghee/butter, curry leaves, chopped garlic, green chilies, dry red chilies, kasuri methi, hing (asafoetida), kashmiri red chili powder.

dhaba style masoor dal
Tadkewali masoor dal and jeera rice

More Lentils recipes

Mixed Vegetable Sambar

Dal Makhani

Dal Tadka

Punjabi Rajma

If you’ve tried this Masoor Dal recipe, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Feedback and suggestions are highly appreciated. Also, please share the recipes with your friends and family members.

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Chatpata Masoor dal recipe | Whole Masoor dal

Author: Santosh Allada
Chatpata Whole Masoor Dal is a brown lentils curry cooked in a chatpata (spicy and tangy) onion tomato masala base gravy. True to its name, the dish has spicy, sweet, and tangy flavors. Serve as an accompaniment to rice or rotis.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup Whole Masoor
  • 2-3 tbsp Oil
  • 2 medium Bay leaf
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 medium Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 tbsp Ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 medium Tomatoes (grind to a smooth puree)
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Red chili powder
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp Garam masala
  • 1 tsp Tomato sauce
  • 2.5 cups Water
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves

Instructions
 

  • Take whole masoor dal in a bowl and check thoroughly for any stones.
  • Add water, rub the dal between your palms, and discard the water. Refill with clean water and repeat the process until the water runs clear.
  • Add clean water (three cups of water per 1 cup of dal) and soak for 8-10 hours. If short on time, soak in hot water for at least 30-60 minutes.
  • In a pressure cooker, add the soaked dal and 2.5 cups of water. Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles on high flame.
    If not soaked, pressure cook for 4-5 whistles.
  • Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon stick, and cumin seeds. Let them crackle.
  • Add finely chopped onions and saute on medium flame till they turn a light brown color.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw smell goes away.
  • Turn the flame to low and add spice powders – turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and meat masala. Saute for 5 seconds.
  • Add 1/4th cup water and continue to saute till oil separates.
  • Add tomato puree and saute on medium flame till moisture reduces and oil separates.
  • Add salt to taste and give a good mix. Next, add cooked masoor dal along with the water and mix well.
  • Add tomato sauce/ketchup and mix.
  • Add coriander leaves and mix well. Cover the pan and simmer for 10-15 mins on low flame.
  • Add garam masala and mix. Continue to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Lastly, add coriander leaves.
  • Whole Masoor dal is ready. Serve hot with your choice of rice or roti.

Notes

To reduce the cooking time of masoor, soak them in water for 8-10 hours. However, the soaking process is not mandatory. 
Ghee enhances the taste of dal a lot better. You can add a dollop of ghee on top of the cooked masoor dal.
Masoor dal is a thick curry and thickens as it cools. So adjust the consistency of the curry accordingly.
You can mash the cooked lentils for a mushier texture, or leave them whole for a rustic look.
You can follow the same recipe to prepare any whole lentils such as black-eyed peas, chickpeas, lima beans, whole green moong dal, or kidney beans. Ensure that you soak each lentil for 8-10 hours or overnight. Also, the cooking time of each lentil varies.
 


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