Malka Masoor or Split Red Lentil

Lentil is the oldest pulse crop known, and among the earliest crops domesticated in the Old World, having been found as carbonized remains alongside human habitations dating to 11,000 BCE in Greece. The origins of lentil are in the Near East and Central Asia.

It is rare that an Indian home will serve a meal without accompanying a lentil dish, referred to as daal. It is a ready source of protein for a balanced diet. Though the name says they are red, they are actually salmon colored and turns into delicious yellow post cooking.

Since Malka Masoor cooks very slow if we combine salt or tomato or lemon juice to it. So in very simple and easy recipe we are cooking them separately and them adding them together in the last



Split Red Lenthil

Masoor Dal

1 Cup

Washed and Rinsed

Soak for 30 minutes if you like to cook in a pan.

If cooking in a pressure cooking, soaking is not required.



2 Cups




  1. In a pressure cooker, add the masoor dal and water.
  2. Wait for 2 whistles.
  3. Leave the dal to cool down on its own.




2 tea spoons

I use Ghee however vegetable oil may be used as well

Cumin jeeds


1 tea spoon


Black Mustard Seeds


½ tea spoon





Finely chopped



2 to 3

Crushed or chopped



½ inch

Finely chopped

Green chilli



Long sliced

Dry red chilli







Finely chopped



1 pinch


Garam masala


½ tea spoon


Turmeric Powder


½ tea spoon




2 cups


Dry Fenugreek

Kasuri Methi

1 tea spoon


Lemon juice


1 tea spoon


Coriander Leaves


1 table spoon




1 tea spoon



  1. In a kadai, heat the ghee
  2. Once the ghee is hot, add the Cumin seeds and Mustard Seeds. Sauté for around 15 seconds.
  3. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, green chilli and red chilli and fry for around 2 minutes. Keep on stirring.
  4. Add the tomato and fry till oil seperates. This will be around 2 minutes.
  5. Add the cooked dal, water and Salt
  6. Stir for around 5 to 7 minutes.
  7. Add Dry Fenugreek and on low flame let it simmer for 2 minutes.
  8. Add lemon juice and garnish with Coriander leaves.

Enjoy the dal with rice or Rotis.


Trivia – A history of the masoor

Lentils are also known as among the most ancient foodstuffs. Lentils charred by fire, indicating some kind of cooking, have been found in cave remains in Greece dating back to 11000 BC. The Eastern Mediterranean is where lentils were first planted, along with early cereals, as the first farmed crops.

Ken Albala, in his history of legumes, explains that lentils were important because they need little rain and can grow on poor land, which they make better by binding nitrogen into the soil. They also complemented the cereals. “The amino acids lacking in lentils are supplied by grains, and the lysine missing from the grains is supplied by legumes,” writes Albala. “A person can subsist mainly on this vegetable-based diet and it will support a large population in a way that gathering and hunting cannot.”

Lentils, not surprisingly, feature large in the Bible, from the book of Genesis where Esau the hunter, who comes home unsuccessful and starving, sells his birthright to his younger brother Jacob for a dish of lentil porridge; this can easily be read as a parable for how the older hunter-gatherer lifestyle was giving way to farming communities. Even more than the Biblical communities though, the ancient civilization that really valued lentils was Egypt, where they were sacred to the god Horus, and large quantities were stored in the pyramids for the after-life needs of their inhabitants. Protein-rich lentils fed to slave were probably a critical input for building the pyramids in the first place.

K.T Achaya, in his pioneering history of Indian food, speculated that the word masoor originated in an aboriginal Indian language, but this is one case where there’s another possibility: the Egyptian fame of lentils stuck to it as travelled, so we get the name from misri, the old name for anything Egyptian. Achaya would point to the record of these dals in Sanskrit writings that might predate direct Egyptian contact, but words can be surprisingly persistent as they spread, and the name would have got a boost when the Muslims arrived in India, to find this food they were already familiar with.

Leave a Reply

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