The Bangladeshi Kitchen

Mashur Daal – Red Lentils

1.5 hours
Prep: 30 minutes | Cook: 1 hour | Servings: 4

Daal preparations, where pulses (dried beans, lentils etc.) are cooked into a thick spicy stew, are a mainstay of Bangladeshi cuisine. Daal will eaten with rice and vegetables in Bangladesh and less rarely with ruti (wheat-based flat bread).

This particular recipe is a family tradition handed down from my grand-mother to my mother to me. Over the years, each of us has put our own personality into this recipe and what you will see if my particular twist.

This does not take long to prepare and I will often make this up in a jiffy and have this is just a soup.


  • 1 cup red lentils (moshur/masur daal)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chooped
  • 3 green chilis, one finle chopped, the other two slice into long slices
  • 1 tsp salt or equivalent amount of chicken based
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 tomatoes (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paanch phoron (Bengali five spice mix)


  • Wash the lentils thoroughly and then add the lentils, water, finely chopped onions, 1/2 of the garlic, the two green chilis sliced longitudinally, 1 tablespoon ghee, the optional tomatoes and all the dry spice powders (not the panch phoron) into a large pot. Make sure the pot is large enough as daal has the tendency to boil over.
  • Simmer over medium heat until the lentils are tender (but still firm) ; about 1/2 hour.
  • Take a whisk and break vigorously whisk the daal for 1-2 minutes so that it begins to look like a homogeneous mix.
  • Drop in the cilantro and turn the heat to medium low.
  • In a separate pan, heat the remaining ghee.
  • Add in the thinly sliced onions and green chili and fry until the onion starts to caramelize
  • Then add in the garlic and panch phoron and stir until the panch phoron starts to sputter.
  • Turn the heat to low and ladle in some of the daal into the frying pan – be careful, this will sizzle.
  • Then pour in everything back into the daal making sure all the tasty bits from the frying pan makes it to the pot.
  • Cover and simmer on low for a few minutes.
  • Enjoy

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