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easy moong masoor dal {lentil curry}

Easy Moong Masoor Dal {Lentil Curry}

Nosheen Babar
This Easy Moong Masoor Dal {Lentil Curry} is a quick and nutritious meal that takes about 30 minutes to prepare!
5 from 1 vote
Print Recipe
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Tempering 10 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 5 servings
Calories 254 kcal


  • ½ cup masoor dal (red lentils)
  • ½ cup moong dal (yellow lentils)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp red chili powder
  • water (SEE NOTES)


  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3 dry red chilies


Stove Top Method

  • Soak the dal In water for 30 minutes {OPTIONAL-SEE NOTES}
  • Drain the water and add the lentils, turmeric, red chilies, salt and 4 cups of fresh water in a medium sized cooking pot and set the heat on high.
  • Once the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove any scum that rises to the top.
  • Cover and continue to cook on low heat for about 20 minutes.
  • Uncover, turn the flame up and stir till the lentils are slightly blended and you have the desired consistency.
  • Turn the stove off and cover while you prepare your tempering.

Instant Pot Method

  • Wash the lentils well, rinsing until the water runs clear {SEE NOTES}
  • Add the dal, turmeric, red chilies, salt and 3 cups of water to your instant pot.
  • Seal the pot and set the timer on high pressure for 15 minutes.
  • Once the 15 minutes are up, wait 5 minutes before you release the steam and open the Instant Pot.
  • If you feel the need to thicken the dal, turn the Instant Pot on saute mode and cook till you have the desired consistency.
  • Once the dal is done to your liking, turn the Instant Pot off and cover loosely while you prepare your tempering.


  • Slice the garlic cloves into thin slices.
  • Heat the ¼ cup cooking oil on high heat for about 1-2 minutes.
  • First add the cumin seeds and let them cook for 30 seconds {SEE NOTES}
  • Next add the garlic and cook till it is a light brown {SEE NOTES}
  • At this point add the dry red chillies and saute for 10-15 seconds {SEE NOTES}
  • Pour the entire mixture on your cooked dal, garnish with the cilantro and green chilies if desired and serve.


Water - 
The quantity of water you use will vary depending on the cooking method you're using and how thick or thin you like your dal.
With the Stove Top method there's a little bit of evaporation so an extra cup is needed. On the other hand, with the Instant Pot, since all the cooking is being done using steam and the pot is tightly sealed, a cup less will do.
My dal is a little on the thin side, so if you like yours a little more dense you may want to reduce the water by a cup for each of the methods above.
Soaking The Dal {Stove Top} -
You can opt to soak your lentils or not. The benefit of soaking is primarily to assist with digestion. Soaking and throwing the water after removes the ingredients that cause gas and bloating.
Some people are more sensitive to this than others. If it's not a problem for you and you're in a hurry then you can skip this step.
The soaking can help reduce the cooking time so if you decide not to opt for this method then you may need to check on the lentils about 10 minutes sooner than indicated above { I didn't soak mine for this recipe}.
Washing The Lentils {Instant Pot} -
In the Instant Pot method above the soaking time is not accounted for. If you soak the lentils then it usually removes all or any residue and separate washing is not necessary.
In the event that you opt to soak your lentils before cooking them with this method, reduce the cooking time to 10 minutes.
Tempering -
You need to be careful about roasting the ingredients but not burning them as this will affect the taste of the dal. It's best to watch and time this step perfectly!
  • Cumin - Don't roast the cumin for more than 30 seconds because it will continue to cook with the other ingredients and any longer than 30 seconds can cause it to burn and taste bitter.
  • Garlic - Add the garlic next. This will take a little bit longer than the cumin since it contains moisture that needs to evaporate. As soon as it's a light brown add in the next ingredient.
  • Dry Red Chilies - Once you add in the dry chilies, it barely takes a few seconds before they start turning brown. Immediately turn the stove off at this point to prevent them from burning and pour all the ingredients on the cooked lentils.
If you follow the above steps properly you should be able to smell the fragrance of your tadka throughout your house.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 254kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 11gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.04gSodium: 718mgPotassium: 295mgFiber: 8gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 487IUVitamin C: 41mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Instant Pot Dal, Pakistani Dal, Red Lentil Curry, Stove Top Dal, Yellow Lentil Curry
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