Jun 24, 2010

One pot Masoor-toor dal (lentil soup)

If you are a dal/ sambhar purist click away from this post.
If you soak your lentils everyday and cook it in the big 5 ltr pressure cooker with rice in the bottom pan, click away.
If you chop your tomatoes, veggies and cook them in a separate pan before adding the cooked lentils to it, click away.

If you want to cook your lentils in 30 minutes and eat them too, stay and read on.

I grew up watching my mom soak the toor dal and rice every morning in the cooker inserts. The whistle of the five liter cooker meant it was eight in the morning. As a teenager, it was my job to set the cooker and then the whistle didn’t always go off at eight.
Flash forward a decade and some years: I was in a new country with a three liter cooker, no inserts and a husband who insisted I cook the food for the whole week over the weekend. That didn’t sit too well with me but as a compromise I would cook about 3 cups of lentils and keep it in the fridge for the week. I never got used to the gelatinous layer that forms on top of the cooked, refrigerated dal but I learnt to live with it.

Last year, I watched fascinated as a friend chopped some tomatoes, cooked them in her small cooker, added the soaked toor dal and turned on the lid. Lo and behold, the dal was ready in 30 minutes, steaming hot and ready to go from the cooker to the table.

It revolutionized my whole approach to making dal. Since that fateful day, I have made toor, masoor, moong (spilt and whole) and a combination of these in the cooker and the result has never disappointed me.

1/4 cup masoor
1/4 cup toor dal
2 medium tomatoes, chopped

A pinch of sugar
Cilantro for garnishing

For Tadka:
1/2 tsp asafetida powder
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 curry leaves, optional
1 green chili, chopped
1 tsp sambhar/ garam masal powder

Wash the two dals together in plenty of water and soak them in some water.

Heat the small pressure cooker and add half a tablespoon of oil. On medium heat add the asafetida, turmeric and the mustard seeds. As the mustard begins to pop, add the cumin, green chili, curry leaves and red chili powder.

Let the spices cook for half a minute, taking care not to burn them.

Add the tomatoes, sugar and sambhar powder. Cover and let cook till the tomatoes are mushy.

Add the soaked dals with the water, adjust salt and water, cover and cook on medium heat for three whistles.

Once the cooker cools down, open the lid and whisk the dal to a smooth consistency. Add more water if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serve with rotis/ rice.

This of course goes off to MLLA 24 hosted by A little bit of Spain in Iowa.


  1. I did not click away as this is the way I love to cook dal ... in fact most stuff that need pressure cooking ... one shot cooking ... saves time, energy.
    Love masoor dal anyday. :-)

  2. I made sambar today exactly the same way you posted..Call this telepathy?!!!!I find this very easy and quick instead of the usual method.Cooks fast and less vessels to wash up;)

  3. I also make it in similar way. Such a hassle free meal. Dal looks warm and comforting.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  4. I learnt to make dal in a pressure cooker from my MIL and don't think I've thanked her enough for teaching me a super easy and tasty way of making dal.

    The next time, I will add sambhar masala to the dal - your picture looks so inviting that I am tempted to make some dal right now - eventhough today's dinner is already on the table!

  5. Simple dals sans fuss are most certainly my favorites-- I am no purist, although I love to indulge when I have the time. Thanks for the recipe, Jaya.

  6. Absolutely! I love these one-pot pressure cooker dals! Although I make enough for several meals at one time and freeze the rest. :-)

  7. I no purist either and do cook these kind of daals often. Thanks for sharing ...

  8. delicious tempting and mouth watering dal.

  9. Gosh...just home for lunch and I saw this...way to go! You made me STARVING!!!! I've done the same as you....this is a great way to make dal.

    Hey....email me sometime...I have moved...literally...far from my home and am keeping a private journal experience...I'd like you to come along.

  10. I make dal almost the same way. I also add onions while pressure cooking. At times I add a bit of frozen spinach too.

  11. This is what I do.. all at one shot, most of the times. Even MIL's tradtional dal goes in the cooker all together, and if not told no one could tell . Shshhhhh..... I love masoor dal & A loves toor. This is probably what I will do to please us both.

  12. First time here...love your blog.

    I too love making dal this way... I learned it from my MIL...she cokes vegetables also in such manner.

    Picture looks very yummy.

  13. A true comfort food. Taste good by itself, with rice, with roti, with puri and sometimes with bread too.

  14. Dal looks so inviting, i seriously feel like grabbing the bowl right away!

  15. This is the way I used to make Daal for DS a year or two ago, when he would not eat our daal. It would give me an opportunity to put in all veggies, greens and then smash it.
    Like the idea of adding sambhar and sugar in it. Love the pictures!

  16. I cook like this when I am very lazy to clean all the utensils, if done in my way. But, you know I didn't click away from the post, just for the photos. they look so good and homey! Love masoor.


  17. made this :-) another of the very few dals that we love. did not add the sambar powder the first time and did it the second time. I also added a whole lot of curry patta. Obviously this went in the to do a numerous times list.


Thank you for visiting my space. I miss my former editors, so any form of criticism/ appreciation is welcome. :)

Possibly related posts

Related Posts with Thumbnails