Monday, February 13, 2012

Masoor Dal with Bell Peppers and Avocado Ginger Mash

What is your favorite lentil?  Indian brown lentil also called masoor dal, is my absolute favorite. There is something about the mild earthy flavor with aromatic Indian spices and spicy hot ginger, that is so comforting. It reminds you of how simple food that mother earth has blessed us with can be far more soothing and warming, warmth that comes from within, that no food out of box can do. That is the beauty of real food.

That, and that brown lentils are the only lentils M doesn't really care for. On the other hand, growing up the only lentil I ate were brown lentils served with rice. But I grew up and M didn't. Our marriage survives on mutual love of another brown thing though, called chocolate. Just that.


Over the years I have found that the addition of bell peppers and ginger to this basic recipe lessens his dislike and assures a peaceful day. The green peppers add a lovely smoky and spicy base but you could easily use red or yellow bell peppers too. The mint beautifully rounds all the earthy flavors and aroma the lentil naturally has. The other day we served it to our guests with naan and avocado ginger mash. I wish I had taken pictures because it took it whole new level of deliciousness. 


Masoor Dal with Bell Peppers and Avocado Ginger Mash 
Serves 2- 3


1 cup whole brown lentils, masoor dal *
1 green/red bell pepper, cubed
1/2 cup red onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup tomatoes, finely cubed
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste 
1-2 green chilies
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick, 2 inch
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
Handful of mint and julienne ginger for garnish

Avocado Ginger Mash

1 ripe avocado
2 tbsp red onion
1 tbsp mint,  roughly chopped 
1/2 tsp ginger, grated
1/2 tsp lemon juice
A pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste


* You can experiment with other lentils too, as long as you adjust the cooking time it should taste good.


Soak the lentil for half an hour if possible. Par boil them and drain. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and cinnamon, followed by ginger garlic paste. Once they cook out , add onions and bell pepper till lightly browned. Yes, the bell peppers are part of the masala!

Add turmeric powder, red chilly powder, black pepper and coriander powder. Once they loose their rawness , add the tomatoes and cook till it forms into a paste.

Add the lentils, season with salt and garam masala. Cover and cook till the lentils are tender but still retain their shape. About 10 minutes. 

If you plan to serve it with rice, its a good idea to retain some of the stock in which you boiled the lentils and add it along with the lentils to have some gravy to soak your rice in. 

To make avocado mash, mix the mashed avocado with rest of ingredients.

Garnish the lentils with mint, ginger and wedge of lemon and serve avocado ginger mash on the side.


  1. I love dal of all kinds! I make it very regularly with several spice and vegetable variations. Your version looks delicious!

  2. Very comforting and enjoyable! A great dish.



  3. I heart lentil preparations, so much comfort! I usually make something spicy with brown lentils, but yours look so much more tempting than what I normally do, yum!

  4. When I first saw your photo in Flickr I thought this is some dish with minced meat in it. With a Southern Indian MIL, I'm only familiar with yellow lentils but have since tasted red lentils in Aegean cuisine.

  5. "Our marriage survives on mutual love of another brown thing though, called chocolate. Just that." - Ha! I share a similar love with my husband.

  6. Looks lovely! My favourite lentil is the beluga.

  7. This recipe sounds delicious, and the pictures is wonderful too. I'll try it soon =) thank you

  8. I am not a dal person at all but then days likes this when it's cold and raining, nothing sounds more comforting than dal and rice!

  9. I love dal, it's such a comforting dish. I'd love a big bowl of this on the rainy days we've been having recently. Gorgeous photos as always Kulsum.

  10. I would like to clariify one thing. Do you add the mashed avocado in the end ?

    1. Hi Rashida,

      The avocado mash is served as a side with the dal, like you would serve mashed potatoes.

  11. Avocado ginger mash sounds interesting and delicious :)

  12. Hmmmm lots of wonderful spices in here. I've never heard or tried dal, but it looks delicious! I can eat lots of rice with this... Great photos Kulsum!

  13. I actually love all kinds of lentils but until I read this post it never dawned on me that different lentils worked best for different kinds of dishes. True! This delicious dish and that meal with naan and advocado mash (and maybe a bit of raita) would really suit me just fine!

  14. ♥♥♥♥ what a great take on dal Kulsum, and beautifully styled too. I love a good dal and this is something special!

  15. I make lentils all the time and am always looking for new ways to serve them - that avocado ginger mash sounds delicious!

  16. "That is the beauty of real food." YES! I love that line. This dish looks wonderful.

  17. Gorgeous photo and recipe. Love masoor daal!

  18. love the addition of bell peppers. i also always cook whole masoor with ginger :) but rarely use ginger for the red ones.and I love the jeans and the platter which says delicious. Where on the earth did you find that?so cute!

  19. So delicious, what can I say? I have not tried this kind of lentil yet. But will do soon :)

  20. I love masoor dal and now I will have to try this recipe! The contrast between the blue denim and the brown lentils is wonderful!

  21. Wow...what a delicious recipe.....I loved the combo....n awesome clicks dear :-)


  22. I do enjoy learning about all of these ingredients and the emotions attached to them. The dish looks delicious and the avocado mash sounds like a great side dish.

  23. I think dal is one of the most comforting dish. Avocado ginger mash...mmm sounds interesting.

  24. I adore lentils in all there glorious forms...and I also adore this recipe, very lovely!

  25. This recipe looks wonderful! I would love to make it. However, you say to add coriander with the black pepper. What amount? It isn't in the ingredients list.

    On a side note, the photography on this blog is gorgeous. It feels comforting and warm, like this dish, I suppose.

  26. Such a great lunch or dinner ~ love all those flavors :)

  27. Even the pictures seems to smell of spices. Such a wonderful dish with exotic spices. Love the idea of serving it with avocado mash. So healthy and uber delicious!

  28. This is a favorite in our house too. Absolutely love it and I love avocado! This is such a wonderful combinations. Can't wait to try it.

  29. This looked so good I made it today! It turned out very well..just made a few changes here and there. By the way, in your recipe you don't have the quantity for coriander powder. The avocado mash is amazing. I love the combination with the daal....not traditional at all...LOVE IT!

    1. Thank you Asiya for getting back and letting me know. I'm glad you enjoyed it. That mash is amazing right? I make it so often that we are almost sick of it :-)

      P.S. - thanks for pointing out the coriander powder

  30. I want to eat your site! :) beautiful.


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