A fabulous lentil recipe from Pakistan; good comfort food for the winter months.

Steamed Rice in an earthen ware dish
Daal and Steamed Rice (Images: Tehmina Akhtar)

Daal Masoor (Black/brown lentils Pakistani style) with Steamed Rice

Total Time 2 hours
Servings 3 people
This is a great daal, full of proteins and nutrients. Goes extremely well with boiled rice but you can also have it with roti (flatbread).


Daal (Lentils)

  • 1 cup daal masoor unhulled (or black or brown lentils)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp red chilli pepper
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • Water

Garnish (tarka)

  • Vegetable oil
  • ¼ red onion (chopped)
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves (sliced)
  • ½ inch piece of ginger (minced (optional))
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds (lightly roasted)
  • Small bunch of cilantro (coriander) (chopped)


  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Water
  • Butter (optional)



  • Wash and rinse the lentils/daal in cold water a couple of times. Leave to soak for 30 minutes.
  • Heat water in a large saucepan. Water should be half way. Bring to a boil. Add the soaked lentils and boil for 5 minutes. Then lower the heat and keep simmering for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check the lentils and ensure they are fully cooked, the should be soft and the liquid slightly soupy. Add more water if needed.
  • At the time that you add the lentils also add the spices - salt, red chilli powder, turmeric, coriander and cumin.
  • When the lentils are almost fully cooked. Heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan and add the chopped onion. Cook for a few minutes until golden. Then add the garlic and ginger and keep cooking. At the end add the toasted cumin seeds to the garnish and pour over the lentils. Turn the heat off and serve garnished with fresh chopped cilantro leaves.
  • Enjoy with plain steamed rice or naan!


  • Gently wash rice in cold water and rinse a couple of times.
  • Soak rice in water for about 30 minutes.
  • Heat a medium saucepan with water (half full or around 4x more water than rice). Add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil.
  • When water is boiling, drain and add the soaked rice. Cook till rice is almost 90 percent cooked, soft but still firm to the touch. This takes me around 8-9 minutes for rice that has been soaked. If not soaked let rice cook for 10 minutes.
  • Drain the rice completely and add back to the hot saucepan. Check the salt and sprinkle more if needed. Option to a add a teaspoon of butter and allow to melt in, stirring gently not to break rice.
  • Cover firmly with the lid. Turn heat on lowest setting. Allow to steam in saucepan for 10 minutes. Then turn off heat and serve steaming hot.


Note: use the original basmati rice which is native to Pakistan and India. 🙂
Author: Tehmina Akhtar
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Pakistani
Keyword: lentils, daal, vegetarian, rice
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