yellow and red lentil dal / moong and masoor dal

May 16, 2022

Dal is a weeknight staple in our home. It’s filling, straightforward, and delicious. Bonus points for it being vegan! A basic dal (that’s what my mother called it) was the first recipe I learned from her 10 years ago. There are hundreds of variations, so this is just one take. It’s a mix of yellow split and red split lentils, referred to respectively as moong and masoor dal. It may be the ultimate pantry meal, seasonless and timeless.

yellow and red lentil dal

(serves 2-4)


½ cup yellow split lentils
½ cup red split lentils
1 small tomato (e.g. Roma),
diced  4 cups water + more as needed
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp red chilli (up to 1 tsp if you like it spicy)
1 garlic clove 1 tsp kosher salt + more to taste
1-2 tbsp chopped coriander

tarka/tempered oil:

4 tbsp neutral oil
2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1 tsp cumin seed
4-6 dried whole red chilli
6 curry leaves (optional)


Step 1: Soak dhal in 3 cups of water for an hour or overnight. Rinse before using.

Step 2: In a large pot, add the soaked lentils and 4 cups water and bring to a gentle boil. Skim the white foam that comes to the surface till the water is mostly clear. Add the turmeric, paprika, red chili powder, peeled garlic clove, and salt, and lower the heat to medium-low. Slightly cover the pot, allowing the lentils to simmer, giving it a stir now and then. Once the garlic clove has softened, smash it with the back of your spoon. The lentils will take anywhere from 30 to 45 mins, depending on how long they were soaked. Check by tasting and ensuring the lentils are soft and collapse in your month.

Step 3: Turn off the heat and whisk or use an immersion blender to combine everything. Add in a bit of water if you’d like your dal looser or turn up the heat to make it thicker. Remember, dal does thicken as it cools.

Step 4: To make the tarka, heat the oil on medium heat in a small pan. Lean back, as the oil will splatter a little as you add the ingredients! Add the dry whole chillis and fry for 30 seconds giving the pan a little shimmy. Add the sliced garlic, cumin seeds and curry leaves last (if using) and fry for 30-60 seconds. When the garlic turns golden, tip carefully and immediately into the pot of lentils, covering with a lid to infuse the flavour. After a couple mins, remove the lid and give it the gentlest stir. Top with coriander and serve with rice or roti.

I hope you love it as much as we do!

Leave a comment or question, or just say hi below! I’d love to hear from you. Also, you can share the recipe by using any of the little social buttons: facebook, instagram, twitter, or pinterest – whatever’s your jam. 🙂

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

recipe updates + newsletter

Here you'll receive updates of new posts and recipes, along with a newsletter, once a month.


    latest recipes

    blood orange + beet salad

    olive oil apple crumble

    rice noodles with crispy tofu and kale (gf + df)

    cucumber and melon salad with feta, za'atar and basil

    yellow and red lentil dal / moong and masoor dal

    simple banana bread (gf + df)