Pakistani Daal is an easy and nutritious meal to make your dinnertime delicious. Learn all my tips on how to make the perfect daal, with step by step photos.
Daal (also known as dal, dahl, dhal) happens to be the very first meal I made after I got married. I had no knowledge of cooking (chopping onions was my biggest fear) and my mother knowing what a novice I was in the kitchen suggested that I should start with this easy recipe, because it's pretty hard to mess up and also super delicious, and it would be less likely that I would put the kitchen on fire. :p
This Pakistani lentils recipe is the perfect example of simplicity at its best. Now that I've told you how much I love this dish, let me show you how to make it!
P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about South Asian lentil recipes, check out this Ultimate Guide to Daal Recipes in the Pakistani & Indian Manner. They’re lots of delicious recipes included too!
What You Need
- Masoor Daal (red lentils)
- The Spice Trio of Pakistani Cooking: Red chilli powder (or kashmiri lal mirch), turmeric powder & salt.
- Water (for cooking)
These two below (butter and freshly chopped coriander) are the ingredients that take your daal upto another level. Not pictured here, but a squeeze of lemon juice at the end adds another amazing note of fresh flavor.
So here are your hero ingredients:
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice (not pictured)
Don't get me wrong, this recipe turns out just fine without these ingredients, but with THEM, it's another level of deliciousness. 🙂
How Do You Make It?
There are many different ways to make lentils and each household in India and Pakistan has different methods and recipes to make daal. The beautiful thing about lentils is that you can make it as simple as you want or dress it up with tadka (more commonly known as daal tadka) and pair it with white rice or roti / naan (Indian flatbread).
The recipe only requires one type of lentils : red split lentils also known as masoor lentils. It's often made by mixing two different types of lentils (masoor and moong) but I usually make it just using masoor, and it still turns out scrumptious.
In the most simplest terms this is how it's made:
1.) Soak the red split lentils (masoor dal) in water for 15-20 minutes or so. Drain. Note: In this recipe I've used only red split lentils, but as you can see in the picture below I've used half of red lentils and yellow lentils. This is just a preference, but the recipe turns out just as good by using only one type of lentils.
2.) Transfer it to a medium sized pot, and add enough water so that it is one inch above the lentils.
3.) Add kashmiri chilli powder (laal mirch powder), turmeric (haldi) and salt. Boil the lentils until cooked. To avoid over flowing, place a wooden spoon on top of the pot (as pictured below). This is my mom's tip!
4.) Once it's boiling, you'll often see some floating white foam on top of the water, you can discard it like so, as shown in the pictures below.
5.) Cooking lentils can be confusing, and sometimes you don't know when they're completely cooked through. See below as a guide to know when they're fully cooked.
5.) Once the lentils are cooked through, you can either garnish with lots of chopped coriander OR make a tadka and it into a tadka dal.
The recipe that I'm sharing with you today is without the tadka because I wanted to keep things simple today.
You can store daal in an airtight container up to 2-3 days. You can also freeze daal for up to 1 month.
1.) It helps lower cholesterol.
2.) It's high in fibre so it's good for the digestive system.
3.) It's also high in protein so it helps in keeping you full for longer.
4.) There have been studies that show it helps in reducing risk of heart diseases.
5.) It's great for weight loss as it is high in protein and fibre, keeps you fuller for longer and virtually has no fat.
6.) Also it's really yummy and comforting, so that makes you happy...and being happy keeps you healthy. I added that one on my own, but it's true! 😉 :p
These yellow lentils are best enjoyed with plain white rice, fluffy naan / roti and lots of fresh, crunchy salad...but if you want to pair it with other Indian recipes, try the ones below:
You can also pair this it with delicious salads such as:
Daal: Indian Yellow Lentils
- 1 cup red split lentils (masoor daal)
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspooon turmeric powder (haldi)
- 3/4 teaspoon red chilli powder (kashmiri laal mirch powder)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 cup chopped coriander (for garnishing)
- 1 tbsp butter
- chopped tomatoes (for garnishing)
- In a medium sized bowl, soak the lentils in water for 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse the lentils and transfer to a medium sized pot and add the rest of the ingredients: water, salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder.
- On medium high heat, boil the lentils for about 30-40 minutes, while occasionally stirring. The consistency of the daal can be adjusted by adding more water if it's too thick for your liking.
- Finish the daal by adding a the juice of half a lemon and garnish with chopped coriander, butter, and tomatoes. Serve with plain white rice or naan / roti.