This used to be my mother’s go to recipe for times when it had to be quick and easy. This humble masoor daal is comforting yet wholesome.
Is it really that easy?
Boiling the daal with some ground spices and adding a cumin and garlic tadka (tempering). It is as easy as it sounds. No frills, no complications. Using the most basic pantry ingredients, this daal is perfect for those days when you want something super easy and quick. This daal is the answer for those days when you can’t decide what to cook.
What ingredients are needed and where to buy them?
You will need the following ingredients:
Red lentils (Rote Linsen/Masoor daal): I prefer to use organic red lentils for my recipe. You can find it at aldi as well as most of the other standard grocery stores or Indian grocery stores as well.
Red chili powder: You can use any red chili powder that you prefer. I buy mine from the Indian store. Adjust the quantity according to your preferred spice level.
Turmeric powder (Kurkuma-gemahlen): Turmeric powder is easily available at any Indian grocery store at affordable prices. But if you prefer organic, Aldi has recently added turmeric to its organic line of spices.
Salt: Any kind of salt would work.
Cumin seeds (kreuzkümmel): Cumin seeds could also be found at any Indian grocery store at affordable prices. You may also find it at a well stocked grocery store in Germany.
Garlic cloves: I use the standard garlic available at the grocery stores in Germany. Be sure to slice your garlic a few minutes ahead of frying them to get their maximum health benefits.
Olive oil: I use olive oil (organic, cold pressed) for day to day tadka (tempering) for my daals. However, if you want to make it a bit more special, you may use ghee instead.
Everyday Simple Masoor Daal (Red lentils)
- 1 cup red lentils (masoor daal/rote linsen)
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼- ½ tsp red chili powder (adjust to preferred spice level)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 3 cups water
For Tadka (tempering):
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- Add the lentils to a pot in which you want to cook. Add water, rub the lentils gently between your hands and drain the water. Repeat at least 3 times or until the water that comes out isn't cloudy anymore. After washing, let the lentils soak in room temperature water for 10 minutes.
- While the lentils soak, peel and thinly slice the garlic. Let the garlic rest until we cook the lentils. When exposed to oxygen, a compound called allicin is build up which helps garlic to retain its health benefits even when exposed to heat.
- After 10 minutes of soaking, drain the excess water. Add salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder and water. Bring it to boil on medium high heat.
- When it starts boiling, lower the heat to medium low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- After the lentils have cooked, take a rounded spatula and crush some of the grains by pressing them agains the sides of the pan. This makes the texture well incorporated. If you prefer a smoother daal, you can use a stab mixer or a blender to turn it into a smooth mixture.
For the tadka (tempering):
- Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat.
- Add sliced garlic and fry until it turns golden.
- Add cumin seeds and fry for one more minute or until the garlic turns brown.
- Add the tadka to the daal and give it a good mix.
- Serve it in a classic way with basmati rice. Or in a healthier way with multi-grain chapati, quinoa, brown rice or cauliflower rice.