Bengali Masoor Dal

Photo by: indianfoodrocks

by indianfoodrocks

over 2 years ago

This is a simple but flavorful dal, made with red lentils (masoor dal) and a fragrant spice blend called panch phoron.

Panch Phoron is an aromatic spice blend from the eastern Indian state of Bengal. It is usually a mix of nigella seeds, cumin, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and a teeny dried fruit called radhuni. Radhuni has flavors similar to parsley and celery seeds. Panch phoron can be put together easily, substituting radhuni with black mustard seeds.

Serves 4 as a side

Panch Phoron Spice Blend:

  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

Combine all spices in a small air-tight jar. Store in a cool dark place.

Bengali Masoor Dal:

  • 2 cups red lentils or masoor dal
  • 3 tablespoons oil, any neutral oil will do
  • 1/2 tablespoon panch phoron
  • 2-3 Thai green chiles, sliced vertically
  • 1 cup white onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 cup tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • hot water for hot soak
  1. Pick over the red lentils for any debris. Rinse and drain at least twice or rinse well in a colander under running water.
  2. Place the rinsed red lentils in a small saucepan and pour hot water until the lentils are covered by at least an inch of hot water. Cover tightly and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a medium stockpot or the pan of your pressure cooker.
  4. When hot, reduce heat to medium and add panch phoron.
  5. As soon as the seeds pop, add the green chiles. Swirl the pot so that the chiles are coated with hot oil.
  6. Add onions and sauté for a 3-5 minutes on medium-high heat, until soft.
  7. Add ginger and continue to sauté for another minute or so.
  8. Add turmeric powder and mix.
  9. Add tomatoes and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
  10. Drain the red lentils of all water and only then add to the stockpot.
  11. Add salt.
  12. Add 8 cups of water and bring to a rolling boil, about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently so that the lentils don't stick to the bottom of the stockpot and get scorched.
  13. Cover the stockpot and reduce heat to medium and cook for at least another 25-30 minutes, until the red lentils are soft and fall apart when touched. Alternately, cook under pressure for 10-15 minutes.
  14. Mix in lemon juice and serve immediately with steamed basmati rice.

Nutrition Info:


  • 473 calories
  • 12g total fat
  • 1g saturated fat
  • 0mg cholesterol
  • 904mg sodium
  • 66g carbohydrate (32g dietary fiber, 5g sugar)
  • 27g protein
0 Comments Add a Comment

You can post comments here after you log in.

Recent Foodpickles