The Citizen Chef: Masoor Dal

Masoor Dal

In a conversation about cooking while ‘safer-at-home’ and not getting out to the market that often, local Mom and occasional personal chef Elizabeth Nemirovsky noted that Masoor Dal (spicy red lentils) requires mostly pantry items.

The Citizen is posting the recipe for Masoor Dal in the hope that other Citizen Chefs will share their favorite recipe, plain or fancy, as long as its tasty.

Masoor Dal is best served over rice and is well worth a try, according to Nemirovsky. While it’s a vegetarian recipe as printed, it can be served alongside chicken or pork.                                            

Ingredients, to serve 10

  •  3 cups masoor dal, red lentils, rinsed and soaked for 30 minutes in water.
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp each: cumin, turmeric, paprika, Turkish seasoning
  • 1 pinch chili powder (or more to taste)
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 large (28 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken or veggie stock
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
  • ¾ large clamshell box of baby spinach
  • Yogurt sauce (optional, see note)


Heat coconut oil in a large dutch oven. When it begins to shimmer, add the onion and saute for 3 minutes. Drain the lentils before adding them to the pot.

  1. Push onions from the center of the bottom and add garlic & ginger. Cover w/onion and let cook this way for about 2 minutes, then stir and continue sautéing until onion begins to be translucent, about 6-8
  2. Add all spices (cumin, turmeric, paprika, Turkish seasoning, chili powder) to onions, stir and let cook for 2-3
  3. Add tomato paste to your pot. Stir and let cook for 2
  4. Add one can diced tomatoes, all masoor dal, 4 cups chicken or veggie stock, and 2 cups water to your pot. Let simmer for 30 minutes or so, until lentils are
  5. Blend about ½ of the pot with an immersion blender, leaving some lentils & tomatoes
  6. Add 2nd can of diced tomatoes, chickpeas, coconut milk, and spinach. Let simmer 20 minutes until spinach is wilted. Add S&P as
  7. Serve over rice with a dollop of yogurt sauce. Naan a good side if you have

Notes ~ Yogurt Sauce

Add 1 Tbsp minced garlic, 1 Tbsp minced shallot, or minced onion to 1 cup plain yogurt. Salt and pepper to taste. Let sit while you make the Dal.


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