• Prep Time:
  • Cooking Time:
  • Serves: 4 Servings

Bengal Red Lentils with Spices

  • Recipe Submitted by on

Category: Vegetables

 Ingredients List

  • ----------------------------FOR COOKING THE DAL----------------------------
  • 1 1/2 c Red lentils (masar dal)
  • 6 Hot green chilies
  • 1/2 ts Turmeric
  • 4 1/2 c Water
  • 1 1/2 ts Salt; or to taste


4 tb Usli ghee or light vegetable
1 c Minced onion
1 tb Grated or crushed ginger
1 c Finely chopped tomatoes

2 tb Usli ghee or light vegetable
1 tb Panch phoron mix (equal
-quantities of cumin seed;
-fennel seed; brown mustard
-seed; fenugreek seed, and
-black onion seed)
4 Bay leaves
4 Dry red chili pods
2 ts Minced garlic (optional)

Bengal Red Lentils with Spices (Bengali Masar Dal) From Classic Indian
Vegetarian and Grain Cooking, Julie Sahni

1. Pick, clean, wash and cook the dal using the red lentils, chilies,
turmeric, salt and water. Put the ingredients in a deep pot; bring to boil.
Stir often to make sure they do not lump together. Cook over medium heat,
partially covered for 25 minutes. Cover, reduce heat, and continue cooking
for an additional 10 minutes or until soft.

2. While the lentils are cooking heat the usli ghee in a large frying pan
over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the onion and fry, stirring
constantly, until golden brown (about 10 minutes). Add the ginger and
tomatoes and continue frying until the tomatoes are cooked and the contents
reduce to a thick pulp (about 8 minutes). Stir frequently to prevent
sticking and burning.

3. Blend the fried onion-tomato paste and salt to taste into the dal;
continue cooking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the flavors
have blended in. Keep the dal on a low simmer while you make the
spice-perfumed butter.

4. Measure the spices and place them right next to the stove in separate
piles. Heat the usli ghee in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. When
it is hot, add the panch phoron spice blend. When the mustard seeds are
spaterring and the cumin turns a little darker (about 15 seconds), add the
bay leaves and chili pods. Continue frying until the chili turns dark
(15-20 seconds), turning and tossing them. Turn off the heat, add the
garlic, and let mixture fry, sizzling for 25 seconds or until it looks
light golden. Pour the entire contents of the pan over the dal, mix well,
and serve.

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