Spiced Herbal Split Peas (Masala Dal)

The term dal refers to both the ingredient and the final dish. Pretty much any derivation of legumes are generally referred to as a dal. To Indians, the words dal and lentil are essentially the same thing. Like Mexican rice and beans in Mexico, dal and rice have been eaten as a primary source of protein in India for thousands of years.

Indian Masala Dal

Masala Dal – Spice and Herb-laced Yellow Split Peas

This Dal recipe is a wonderful introduction to the flavor and texture that can be delivered by simple split peas. Yellow split peas can be readily found in supermarkets. This comfort food is great served with either a flatbread or rice, by itself, or as an accompaniment to a main dish.
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Course: Brunch, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, North Indian, South Indian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Large pot
  • Colander
  • Wire whisk or wooden spoon
  • Frying pan


  • cups Yellow split peas
  • cup Water
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Kosher salt
  • ½ cup Vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds or powder
  • cup Onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp Red pepper or paprika
  • 2 tbsp Coriander leaves, finely chopped


  • Soak Peas – Cover peas with water in the pot. Pick out any floating things, if any. Drain and return peas to pot. Add enough hot water to cover the peas by 1-inch. Soak for 1 hour and drain.
  • Cook Dal – Pour peas back into the pot along with turmeric and water. Bring to a boil, stirring to keep peas separated.
    Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes, partially covered. Turn heat off and beat peas with a wire whisk or wooden spoon for a minute or two to puree them. Stir in salt.
  • Make Tadka (seasoned topping) – While dal is cooking, heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add cumin seeds for 10 seconds and immediately mix in the onion. Reduce heat to medium and continue frying until onions turn dark brown and sweet, about 20 minutes. Stir constantly to keep onions from burning. Stir in red pepper.
  • Finish Dish – While onions are cooking, simmer Masala Dal over medium-low heat until very hot. Add a little water to the pot if the pureed peas look to thick. To serve, transfer puree to a warm serving bowl, pour onions over, and garnish with chopped cilantro.


  • If not serving right away, dal can be kept in the refrigerator for 4 days or frozen indefinitely.


Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 1181mg | Potassium: 546mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 74IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2mg

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