Flip Cookbook

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Masoor Dal (Red Lentil Soup)

Since India has a large vegetarian population, dal is incorporated in most meals. This is because it has one of the highest protein content by weight of any plant based food. Believe it or not, 26% of the calories that are in lentils come from proteins! So, my vegetarian and vegan friends, cuddle up to your new best friend; the lentil.

Dal is generally served with rice or as a side in a meal, but I love having it as a soup. Don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list. You can easily find them at any local Indian store. I have even found these at Whole Foods. Also this soup is pretty forgiving if you skip an ingredient or two.

Masoor Dal (Red Lentil Soup)



Ready in

30 minutes + lentil soak time (if any)


  • 1 cup masoor dal (red lentils)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • pinch of red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • lime juice to taste
  • handful of fresh chopped cilantro
  • salt to taste


1. Put the lentils into a pressure cooker (or a pot if you don’t have one). Rinse in cold water and drain a few times till the water runs clear. According to the SCD specifications, you must soak the lentils for about 10 hours prior to cooking, discarding the water. For some reason I seem to do fine skipping that step. Either way, once you’re ready to cook, add the water, tomatoes, salt, turmeric and chili powder to the lentils. Allow this to soak while you continue.

2. Dice the ginger, chili and onions.

3. Heat the oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Test if the oil is ready by throwing in a couple of cumin seeds periodically. The seed should sizzle and possibly pop. The aim is for the cumin and mustard seeds to pop when you add them all in. Once the oil is heated, add the cumin and mustard seeds. Stir for 10-15 seconds.

4. Add the chilies and ginger and stir for another 10-15 seconds.

5. Lower the heat to medium. Add the onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the onion starts to become translucent. The onions should not get brown. Add in ground coriander.

6. Mix the onion-spice mixture, called chaunk, into the pot with the lentil mixture.

7. Attach the pressure cooker lid and cook on medium-high heat for 7-8 whistles. If you’re using a pot, cover with a lid and cook for about 25-30 minutes on medium low heat, stirring often to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and carefully release the pressure. The lentils should be tender, and the liquid should be yellow. If not, cook some more. Add salt to taste and serve with lime juice and fresh coriander.

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3 Responses to Masoor Dal (Red Lentil Soup)

  1. Tracee says:

    This looks wonderful! I love Indian food and to see Indian recipes that are SCD, well that is just too cool! Beautiful site.

    • Raj says:

      Thanks Tracee! And welcome to our website! Since we’re of Indian origin, it’s likely you’ll see a lot more posts with Indian flavors.

  2. Chung Biener says:

    Thank you so much, I love to read about other vegetarians as it gives me the strength to continue. I have about a thousand vegetarian feeds in my google reader, but another can’t hurt!! I did manage to find a good lentil recipe here, but I’ll be sure to try yours too. Thanks!

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