Dal 3: Brown Lentils and Spicy Tomato Masala

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Slow Cook Modern

Slow Cook Modern

By Liana Krissoff

Published 2017

  • About

If you don’t have time to make the masala in the morning, you can mix up and fry it in the evening and stir it into the cooked lentils just before serving.


  • 1 pound (455 g) brown lentils
  • 1-inch (2.5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • Pinch of asafoetida (optional, see Note)
  • 1 cup (180 g) peeled and diced tomato
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
  • Salt



    Rinse the lentils in a sieve under running water. Dump into the slow cooker and add 7 cups (1.7 L) water.

    With a mortar and pestle, pound the ginger, chiles, and crushed red pepper to a coarse paste (or use a mini food processor). Stir in the paprika, turmeric, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafoetida, if using, and tomato. In a small skillet or sauté pan, heat the ghee over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the tomato mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and a shade darker, 2 to 3 minutes, then scrape into the cooker. Pour 1 cup (240 ml) water into the hot skillet, scraping up any browned bits, then pour the liquid into the cooker and stir well. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.


    Season with about 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste. To thicken the liquid, either whisk the lentils briskly or hit them briefly with an immersion blender. Serve.