Masoor Dal Tadka Masoor Dal Tadka
Prep 10 minutes
Total 1 hour
Makes large portions
US | Metric
Masoor Dal Tadka

Masoor dal tadka is a wonderfully creamy red lentil dish, finished with spiced ghee. It’s delicious, full of flavour and incredibly easy to make! All you need to do is cook the lentils until soft and creamy and bloom some aromatics and spices in hot ghee. Put them together and you’ve got yourself the perfect wintery dinner.  

My recipe calls for asafoetida (hing in Hindi), which is something you might not be familiar with. @priyakrishna describes asafoetida as an ingredient that “makes Indian food taste more Indian”. Flavour wise, it’s funky, oniony and garlicky. But more importantly, it’s a flavour enhancer, making every other spice come through. You can find asafoetida in most large UK supermarkets.

For the dal:
  • 200 g red split lentils
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 850 ml water
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
For the tadka:
  • 3 tbsps ghee
  • ½ tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 big pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • ¼ tsp mild Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala


  1. Rinse the lentils until the water runs clear then drain. Place the drained lentils in a saucepan and add the remaining dal ingredients. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over high heat. 
  2. Use a spoon to skim off any froth or foam that rises to the surface of the water. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and broken down to a creamy consistency.
  3. When the lentils are almost ready, heat the ghee in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the cumin and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute, then add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute. Finally, add the asafoetida, Kashmiri chilli powder and garam masala and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. These spices burn easily so be careful! 
  4. Pour the tadka into the dal and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning, to your liking, then serve with rice and/or naan – enjoy!