Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Comfort Soup ~ Red Masoor Dal

Ok so I have missed all deadlines, couldn’t submit an entry for JFI-Potato and I wanted to send a soup for Alanna, but am too late and have missed that too, almost, unless I really try hard tonight.

To console myself and to make good of the little time I had, I made my all time favorite comfort soup, a dal actually, the Bangali Musuri’r Dal or the Masoor Dal.
This is the Dal we, as in my family, look forward to when we are down, depressed, tired, anxious, worried or hard pressed for time. We make it quick, there’s no way you can lengthen the process anyway, have it with White Rice & Alu Seddho (mashed Potatoes) with green chillies and a quarter of a lemon on the side and bask in it’s warmth slowly forgetting the gloom that had shrouded us and feel content.
If I am in a good mood and do not need all that carb to lift my spirit, I have this Dal as soup and again feel contented.

This Dal is like my husband D, whom I can trust to warm up my car in the cold mornings even though we have fought the night before and googled for “marriage for dummies” earnestly.
This Dal is like my dear friend who lends me a patient ear and hears me bitch about D though I trust her not to believe anything I uttered while in an acerbic mood.
This Dal is like my Ma, whom I can call up at any time of Day or Night to complain about how hard a day I had and how the little one was throwing a tantrum and trust her to say how good little S actualy is and how I threw more tantrums when I was small.
This Dal is like me who lounges in a faded pajama watching inane serials in Sony (yeah we have that now, courtesy my parents) and scrambles at the nth moment to write up a post for an event which is almost over.
This is Comfort personified.

So here’s My Comfort Soup ~ Red Masoor Dal for Alannas’s Soup Fest hosted at her abode A Veggie Venture


My Comfort Soup ~ Masoor Dal

What You need

Masoor Dal or Split Red Lentils~ 1 cup washed thoroughly
Onion ~ 1 red onion medium sized, sliced in thin long slices
Tomato ~ 1 firm red tomato chopped fine
Green Chilies ~ 2-3 finely chopped

For Tempering
Panch Phoron or Panch Puran (a Bengali Five Spice Mix) ~ 1 and ½ tsp

For Garnish
Lime Juice ~ 4 tsp of fresh lime juice
Corriander Leaves~ 3-4 sprigs

Salt ~ according to taste
Sugar ~ 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder ~ ½ tsp

How I Did It

Pressure Cook the 1 cup Masur Dal with 2 and ½ cups of water and a pinch of turmeric. Once it is cooked mix it well with a whisk. The time to cook depends on your cooker. I use a Futura which needs 3 minutes after the full steam build up.
Heat oil and add the phoron, or as we say temper with Panch Phoron. You can also use Kalo jeera/Kalonji/Nigella Seds if you do not have Panch Puran
Add the finely sliced onions and fry till they turn pink in color. Add the chopped green chillies.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they become a fine pulp
Add the previously cooked dal.
Mix well.
Add salt, sugar and about 3-4 cups of water. If you feel you need to add more water do so.
Cook till you hear a nice bubbling sound. Remember to stir infrequently during this process.
Also continue cook till the thickness of the dal is according to your liking
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and lime juice

Also check out:
Alu Posto and Musuri'r Dal
Another post Masoor Dal with BokChoy

Trivia : The optical lens is so named after the lentil (Latin: lens), whose shape it resembles (Source: Wiki)


  1. A soup with a difference! Nice recipe .Sometimes I do make a mild version of rasam and pass it off as a soup...:))

  2. Wow another soup.... I see a lot of soup recipes these days. Looks good Sandeepa.

  3. ha ha ha... 1st thing in the morning i came to ur blog and u made my day:) loved ur write up as usual and soup also:)

  4. Hi,
    This is a variation of the same dal.
    1. Pressure cook half a cup of dal with 1 and a 1/2 cups of water, a pinch of holud and lal mirchi powder and salt to taste.
    2. Heat shorshe tel and after it smokes add 2 big whole red dry chillies.
    3. Then add one finely sliced onion.
    4. After the dal is pressure cooked add it to this onion mixture and place it on a low fire.
    5. Add quarter teaspoon of sugar to this (my boudi says this brings out all the flavours).
    6. Keep stirring to prevent the dal from sticking to the base of the pan and add water to make it the consistency that you want.
    7. Remove from fire and your dal is ready to eat.

    The trick of this dal is that the more its is cooked the more its flavours are released.


  5. Bitch about D to the Dal - love that. The soup looks slurpy warm.
    I rearely buy masoor dal maybe it is time to buy some.

  6. Lera
    Yeah this IS A DAL in my home, but then when I hear "Lentil Soup" I think why not :)

    It's more a Dal than Soup

    Thanks and glad that you liked it

    Thanks for the variation. Yeah shorsher tel does bring out a difference right and sugar is one thing my Ma too loves to add

    Masoor Dal is like the staple dal at my home :)

  7. If you have a blog on WordPress I cannot see your URL so please leave your URL

    Geetika if you are back can you please levae your URL so that I can visit too :)

  8. Funny - marriage for dummies! I was expecting Aloo Posto on your blog today, sob sob!

  9. Sra
    I already have a Alu Posto recipe in my blog. Since it's my favourite food, I had posted it on Day 3 of blogging itself :)

    Check the link below this post

  10. I love Masoor dal,usually make dal or Rasam out of that too:))

    Looks great and I love the color.

  11. Hey Sandeepa, I love masoor dal. But its boring to make it the same way all the time. Now I'll try your way...:)

    "Marriage for dummies" !! hahahaha....! I enjoyed reading that write up.:) Really comfort personified!

  12. "...even though we have fought the night before and googled for “marriage for dummies” earnestly." hahahah...I'm still ROFL'ng :)) hmm..soup with a difference!


  13. your write-up before the recipe is always a delight to read! how many avatars the dal takes :) I have to try this version- adding panch phoron - thanks for sharing and for the lovely pic!

  14. Hi Sandeepa,

    I love this Dal. You are right - this is comfort food. Ma sometimes used to give a tadka with garlic ... heavenly:) Thanks for sharing this recipe :)

  15. Soup looks too good, sandeepa. Beautiful write-up.

  16. Asha
    And I always thought "Masoor Dal" is not popular in down south. Would love to hear your versions too

    With masoor Dal though I make variations, the recipe I posted today is the one I fall back one. Though I sometimes leave out the onions too


    Do try Panch Puran, the smell and flavor is awesome

    My Ma makes this as a purely vegetarian dal, sans the onions too. Though sometimes she does put onion

    Thank you

  17. Love it. Looks soo fresh and light. I make red masoor dal but I don't use spice mix or gram masala. thanks for lovely pot of soup:)

  18. Ha Ha Ha! When I read this post just couldnt stop smiling. My staple diet for sometime now and the easiest and fastest to cook with aloo sheddho what else do you need. Also, khichuri can also me made with this daal.

  19. Hi Sandeepa...comfort food indeed! This is so good by itself, I don't need anything with this either...

    Marriage for dummies...eh? find anything on that yet?? Let me know if you do, I can take some hints for sure, not K though, he's almost perfect. :)


  20. hi sandeepa
    this dish is making me hungry!!!!

  21. Hi Sandeepa -- don't you love the grandmother's take on grandchildren (especially the girl, in my case). When my daughter was small and throwing fits, she was never being fresh or acting up, she was "spirited". Haha! ;)

    I love masoor dal, and I even have panch phoron (yet to try it!). I will be making this very soon - thanks for the tradtional recipe and lovely write-up :)

  22. I never made soup with red masoor daal. It lookes absolutely yumm. I am gonnu try it soon.

  23. oh how sweet, the way you describe your relationship with masoor dal, haha... was "marriage for dummies" useful? if it's of any comfort, i bitch a lot about my own hubby, too (usually to the mirror), then feel bad about it later. :)

    hmm, can i replace masoor dal with toor dal? i'll ask a dummy question, but you said to "whisk" the lentils, do you mean with an egg beater, or with a blender? Because for my lousy dhansak the other day, I went and blended my lentils, so maybe i shouldn't have...

  24. Masur dal is the favourite dal in our household.

    I add only turmeric powder, salt, some chopped garlic and garnish with coriander leaves.I sometimes avoid the tarka.May seem bland, but it has its own simple,soupy feel

  25. What a write up abt the humble dal! Dal is essentially indian comfort food, with or without rice!Don't feel bad, u have company . I too missed all the deadlines, including the soup!

  26. Padmaja
    I don't add Garam Masala either. The "Panch Phoron" is for tempering/tadka only. Sometimes I also use Kalonji for tempering this Dal

    Hyan oi phase diyeo gechi...:) sudhu masoor dal ar alu seddho ba alu posto..bliss

    Shall check it and maybe will take me alittle while

    You do not need "marriage for dummies", you are too good to be true :)

    How we alaways go back to our simple food isn't it. Whenever we come back from a travel/vacation I crave for this Dal after all that outside food

    OMG your Mom sounds to be exactly the same. Funny :)

    Shilpa (Aayis Recipe)
    Yeah let me know if you liked it. Its very light and simple

    You don't know what all I google for after a fight :) It's been 7 years now so I have moved on to lot more googling ;-)
    When I say Whisk, I mean to mix it a little with a "wire whisk". Do not use the blender. You can also just use the fork, no need to blend, just mix a little, its mushy already, you don't want a puree.

    I too sometimes avoid the whole tadka,and just add few drops of mustard oil, chilli & salt. That too tastes divine

    Don't you like this about blogging. I absolutely hate deadlines and here I camn miss themm at my own wish. What a privilege

  27. I liked the writing more than the dal soup! :)

  28. Haha, that's a relief, I thought I was being dramatic with the things I google about after a fight! ;-) Now I think it's only human.. It'll be 6 years for me soon, and sometimes I wonder how he tolerates me! :)

    OK, thanks for the whisking advice! If I make this soup this weekend, I'll link back to you!

  29. Inji
    Whoa !!! You don't like my dal, how dare you :) :) Just kidding

    If you have made any other dal with just tadka, this will be almost a similar process. But remeber Tor Dal takes more time to get cooked, this Masoor takes less than half the time, so keep that in mind when you pressure cook

    Also I don't think this tempering goes with Toor, never tried it, but I think each dal has their own unique tadka. Also "Panch Phoron" is very Bong and Toor Dal not much i.e. Toor Dal is not used that much in Bengali cuisine so I don't know about the resulting taste. If you do try, let me know though, and that would be a new thing

  30. Hey, I am the new kid on the blog for blogging, but this surely is a mouthwatering blog. Onek din dhore ei shab ranna korini. Just love posto in any condition. Kintu dal and aloo sheddho my favorite.

  31. Sandeepa,
    How do you manage to write so beautifully girl. Always and always love to read your write up and coming to the soup ans you rightly said dal soup are indeed very comforting. I have never tried one with masoor dal. Am gonna make it for sure as I am a soup lover.
    Thanx a bunch

  32. what a lovely write up...Soup looks great...I love soups a lot so definitely would give it a try

  33. A very comforting post indeed, Sandeepa!-:)

  34. dear Sandeepa,
    mushur daal amader o bhalo lage ..
    here wishing you happy holi..
    hugs and smiles

  35. Dear Sandeepa, I don't know what happened to my message.. just to tell you that I'll make this when I get masoor dal, don't want to tamper with your recipe! :) Also to tell you that I finally tried bittergourd for the first time in my life! :)

    Sorry for harassing you with so many messages! :) Have a great weekend!

  36. Hi Sandeepa,
    I don't blog so no URL :(
    I love your blog and try out the recipes from time-to-time.
    I can give you my e-mail id if you like.

  37. The Pilgrim
    Welcome !!!

    Seema, Jaya, Sushma, sailaja
    Thanks for such comforting comments ;-)

    Checked your blog

    May be we can chat through comments then :) Tumi ki Bangali ?

  38. Sandeepa,

    Great work on the banner for plagiarism. I have it up on my blog as well. My mom gave me a whole jar of masoor dal, and I had no idea what to do with it. I will definitely be trying your recipe out. Bookmarked it!

    Thanks, Kanchana

  39. Hi
    sure I would want to try this comfort soup of yours. The color of the soup looks so inviting and wld be great to start with for a lunch.
    Chk here for a thread on low calorie soups:

  40. Hi,
    I am 'half' a Bengali!
    My mum is a Parsi :)

  41. Thanks Kanchana and Sanjana

    Geetika -- Wish you had a blog, so you could post a authentic Dhansak recipe

  42. Short and simple but yummylicious!

  43. It's surprising to read this as I just thought masur dal as comfort food 2 days back. I just stumbled into making masur dal and came up with the same recipe (no panch phoron but with garlic) by myself. My whole family likes it very much. Ilike your blog very much.

  44. Hi,
    I can give you the dhansak recipe, but it's too long to put as a comment.
    Let me know....

  45. Thanks Geetika. Shall let you know when I get some time :)

  46. Found it! Will cook this one instead then...

  47. I cooked this on Saturday for friends and it was delicious. Apurva, as Benjalis would say!! A must try for anyone looking for a light dal on a hot summer's day...

  48. I recently found out that i am pregnant! :) very happy and all! but my taste buds seem to have gone crazy and i seem to want to eat very traditional bangla ranna ( my father is bengali) anyway, reading your blog has been terrific, you bring a lot more than food to life, i shall try a couple (as many as i can actually!) of your recipes! Thanks!

  49. Congrats Bubu, very good news :)

  50. hi ,,.me need to food blogging,,..looks like can learnt from ur blog nice blog ,,,keep it up

  51. Hi Sandeepa,
    I tried this dal and also Kalakand. Both were yumm..

  52. tried this dal and loved it - thanks so much for the recipe!


  53. I really enjoy your blog. I make masoor soup all the time. A couple of things my mom told me that use is a little different and I thought I would share: I use celery seeds (radhuni) and hing. Also, I use bits of mushroom and carrots (not necessary) as part of the soup. It's really awesome.

  54. Sandeepa di, I tried this last week, it turned out awesome!! Tumi


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