Tangy Gota masoor Dal Tadka (Whole red lentil in Indian spices)

I’m sure you’ve had red lentils or gota masoor in some form or the other. This recipe of lentils is something I started making while I was at grad school and would crave for something comforting which would remind me of home. Recently, I made it when my cousin was visiting and she said “ye dal toh bilkul amrit jaisa taste kar raha hai” which sort of translates to this tastes like heaven.

It’s my go to recipe for when I want something quick, nutritious and full of flavor. This dish is vegan and high in protein and fiber.
I have suggested some variations at the end of the recipe just in case you don’t have a pressure cooker or some of the ingredients mentioned.


  • 1 cup gota masoor dal (whole red lentil)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1 inch ginger chopped or 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 green chilies finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander/cilantro
  • 1 tsp garlic paste or 3-4 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp Rajma Masala (you can find it in any Indian grocery store)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp oil (or ghee)

For Tadka (tempering):

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 dried red chili
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili
  • Pinch of hing/Asafoetida


  1. Wash and soak masoor dal in water. for about 15-20 mins, meanwhile you can start preparing the masala or frying the spices.
  2. On medium heat add 1 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker.
  3. Add ginger, green chili and garlic paste and fry for a minute.
  4. Add onions and fry till transparent. No need to brown them.
  5. Add Rajma Masala, red chili powder and turmeric. Fry 2-3 mins until fragrant.
  6. Add the tomato and salt. Fry till tomatoes are mushy and oil separates. This takes about 3-4 mins.
  7. Add the dal after draining the water and fry with the spice mixture for 1 min.
  8. Add 2.5 cups of water and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles.
  9. Once the cooker has released air prepare the tadka (tempering).
  10. Heat ghee and add cumin seeds till it splutters. You can do this in any small pan if you don’t have a special tadka utensil.
  11. Add pinch of hing and red chili. Once that’s done remove from flame and add Kashmiri red chilies. Mix well and pour it on the dal.
  12. Add chopped coriander and serve with chapatis, rice or any flatbread.


  1. If you don’t have a pressure cooker you can use a heavy bottom pan or dutch over and cover and cook the dal/lentil till it’s soft and cooked well but not mushy.
  2. If you don’t have Rajma Masala you can add 2 tsp Chhole Masala as a substitute. if you don’t have either use 1 tsp Amchur powder once the dal/lentil is done cooking., just before adding the tadka
  3. If you’re lazy to do the tempering separately you can start with step 10 and 11 directly in the pressure cooker and then move on to step 3 and follow the remaining steps as it is.


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