Go Back

Kaali or Sabut Masoor ki Daal

Author Sarah Mir


  • 1 cup kaali daal soaked for a few hours
  • Half a finely diced red onion
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp red chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp each of cumin powder and coriander powder optional
  • 1 tbsp or more of tamarind paste or lemon juice
  • Cilantro and diced or whole green chillies
  • For baghaar/tadka/tempering:-
  • 4 cloves thinly sliced garlic
  • 3 dried whole red chillies
  • ½-¾ tsp of cumin seeds
  • A sprig of curry leaves optional
  • Neutral oil not olive oil


  • - Boil the daal in about two cups of water with the diced onion and spices. The cumin and coriander powder add an earthiness, but if you don’t have them handy don’t worry about it.
  • - When the daal is tender – this takes me about 30 minutes – then use an immersion blender to puree it a little just to thicken it. You are not going for a smooth paste, but just looking to add some body to the daal. If you do not have an immersion blender then you can leave it as is or reduce the water and stir aggressively to break down some of the whole lentils and achieve the same effect.
  • - Cook for another ten minutes. Adjust seasoning – this daal can take a fair bit of chilli and salt
  • - Take it off the flame and gradually add the tamarind paste or a squeeze of lemon juice. I suggest starting with about teaspoon of the paste and stopping when you are at “that’s an interesting flavour” not at “oh look tamarind daal”.
  • - Add the diced or whole green chillies and cilantro and stir through.
  • - For the Baghaar:- Heat oil in a small saucepan and add the garlic, cumin seeds, whole dried red chillies and curry leaves (if using). Cook on medium high heat until the garlic is delicious golden then quickly pour over your daal and cover the pot with the lid.
  • - Serve with rice.


Daal freezes well - make extra and freeze portions for the winter months!