Masoor Musallam is a classic dish from Lucknow. Masoor dal are red lentils. “Musallam” means “whole,” and these are whole, unhusked red lentils as opposed to split lentils.
Some other names for this dish are “Lucknow Style Masoor Dal” and “Awadhi Masoor Dal.” It comes from the Nawabi, meaning it has its roots in cuisine of Moghul royals. Like most dal recipes, this one is quite healthy and is a great vegetarian source of protein. The yogurt in the dish adds even more protein.
I’ve started making Masoor Massalam in an Instant Pot, but it’s also possible to make it in a pressure cooker, or by boiling in a pot without a pressure cooker. Masoor lentils are a softer lentil and it isn’t difficult to get the right texture even without a pressure cooker.
I would typically serve this with either a flatbread, like naan, or some kind of rice, like basmati rice or a rice dish like jeera fried rice. I love the way a good dal tastes when mixed with a spoonful of rice!
This is a simple dish to make, hardly more than blending some ingredients and boiling (or pressure cooking). One thing I would be careful about is making sure to cook the yogurt enough to avoid a raw yogurt taste. You really want to give the yogurt a chance to take on the flavor of the other ingredients before removing it from the heat.
It isn’t difficult to turn this into a vegan dish, simply substitute cashew yogurt for yogurt and vegetable oil in place of ghee.
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup masoor dal, whole
- 3 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
- 1 large onion sliced pole to pole
- 2 inch cinnamon stick
- ½ flower mace
- 5 pods green cardamom
- 1 tsp paprika or mild red chili powder
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger cut into thin sticks
- ½ cup greek yogurt, full fat
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- Inspect dal, remove any seeds, thoroughly wash until the water runs clear
- In an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, heat 2 tbsp of ghee and add onions. Fry until they turn crisp and golden brown
- Remove onions and set aside. Now add cinnamon, cardamom and cloves to the ghee and fry for 20-30 seconds.
- Add cayenne, garlic, salt and water. Mix.
- Add dal and onions. Cook for 8 minutes.
- Mash dal a bit, not completely, it should have a mixture of textures.
- Add yogurt and ginger sticks. Boil for 5 minutes.
- Make a vaghaar of 1 tbsp ghee, cumin and paprika by heating the oil, then toasting the ingredients in the oil. Pour over the dal and serve.
Masoor dal cooks nicely with 5 whistles.
It is not necessary to soak masoor dal, but if you choose to, 30 minutes should be sufficient.
If you do not want to use an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, you can cook this in a pot on the stove. Simply increase the simmering time to 45 minutes.
Masoor dal is brown on the outside and red on the inside. A split masoor dal is bright orange, whereas toor dal is yellow. Toor is thicker, takes longer to cook. Masoor is one of the quickest cooking dals.
You can sprout whole masoor, but not the split lentil (split lentils are damaged seeds).
Whole red lentil.