Musur Dal / Red Lentil Soup

Dal or Pulses – a very significant source of protein, is a part of the daily Indian meal. There are variety of dals (refer to the Glossary section for further reference) and lots of variations in their cooking (mainly in their tempering). I will try to highlight a few of them in this post.


  • Musur Dal – 1 cup
  • Salt – to taste
  • Sugar – optional and to taste
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Ginger paste –
  • Garlic cloves
  • Slit green chillies
  • Tomatoes –
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4th tsp
  • Oil/Butter/Ghee – 1 tbsp + for garnishing
  • Water
  • Chopped coriander leaves – for garnishing.


Note: It is quicker and easier to use a pressure cooker to boil the lentils.

  • Wash the dal thoroughly, and pressure cook (or boil) it with 2-3 cups of water, salt, garlic cloves and green chillies. (You can add the tomatoes at this stage or later). Simmer until the dal is cooked, which in my case is 5-6 whistles, but can vary.
  • This step is called tempering. Heat oil in a pan, add the cumin seeds and let it sizzle.
  • Add ginger paste, turmeric powder, and tomatoes (if not added in the pressure cooker).
  • Add the boiled lentils and mix well.Add more water if required as per the desired consistency.
  • Check and adjust salt and add sugar if required.
  • Garnish with 1 cube of butter or 1 tsp of ghee and chopped coriander leaves.


  • While tempering, add some onions with or without ginger and garlic. (It is not always necessary to use ginger and garlic).
  • Add a pinch of asafoetida while tempering.
  • Temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida.
  • Use any other dal (lentil) or a combination of dal to get varied flavors.
  • Use Panchforon or Panch Puran for tempering.