Masala Masoor (Spicy Lentil Curry)


  • 1 cup dry whole masoor (lentils)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 3 cups water

For the Curry Paste

  • 5 large cloves of garlic
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1½" piece of ginger (or 1 tbsp chopped ginger)
  • 8 dry red chillies
  • ½ cup of water to be added a little at a time

Special Equipment

  • food processor, spice grinder or coffee grinder (Warning: If you use a coffee grinder to make the curry paste, use it only for spices; it will forever taste like the spices!)


Make Curry Paste

  1. Add all curry paste ingredients to a food processor or grinder and grind to a fine mix. Add water, a little at a time, and continue to grind until it forms a paste

Prepare Lentils

  1. Pick through lentils looking for little stones.  Place lentils in a large bowl, pour plenty of water over them and gently scrub.  Drain
  2. In a medium pot add 3 cups of water and cook lentils until tender but not overcooked, about 10 minutes.  Do not drain

Mix Ingredients

  1. Heat ghee in a large skillet and when hot, add sliced onions.  Stir fry for 5 minutes
  2. Add tomatoes and cook for 2-3 more minutes.  Add half the cilantro and stir
  3. Add the curry paste, lower the heat, and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly
  4. Add cooked lentils with all the water, salt and lemon juice.  Stir well and cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes
  5. Garnish with chopped cilantry and serve hot with bread or rice