Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes / Vegan Mains

Masoor Dal with Roasted Eggplant

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Masoor Dal or red lentil dal is an aromatic and delicious Indian curry. Simple to make and naturally gluten-free, it’s a quick and healthy vegan dinner.

A rustic white bowl with the finished Masoor Dal with Roasted Eggplant sitting on a vintage wooden box

Curry is one of my husband and my favourite things to make and eat. He even wooed me with a mouthwatering vegetable curry that took almost a day to make. Twenty years later I’m still waiting on another serve of that curry. I guess it’s stuck in a void with the homemade dog house I was promised for our beautiful dog who passed on 4 years ago. Good thing our boy slept inside, huh?

Thankfully, this Masoor dal does not take a day to make.

Dal (also spelled dhal or daal) translates to “lentil” but most understand it to be a thick soupy curry made with lentils. This Indian red lentil dal is ready in around 40-minutes from start to finish including the roasted eggplant. It is made deliciously flavourful with a tarka or tadka.

What is Tarka or Tadka?

Tarka (also called tadka) is simply tempering aromatic spices in hot oil to release their full flavour. For our Masoor dal today the spices are tempered in oil with fresh tomato, onions, garlic, ginger and chillies. The cooked lentils are then added to the tarka to infuse. So good!

Source: One Green Planet

An overhead image of a wooden box filled with the Masoor Dal ingredients before cooking

Preparing the Lentils

Red lentils are one of my favourite lentils to cook with because they are just so quick and easy. They are also super inexpensive and available in most grocery stores. They’re also great for you being high in protein, fibre and low in fat. So let’s get to cooking them!

As with any lentils pick the red lentils over and discard any gnarly ones or stones. Your teeth with thank you.

Rinse the lentils well. You can run them under water in a fine sieve until the water runs clear or swish and repeat as I do.

Swish and Repeat: To swish, put the lentils in a large pot or bowl and add water to cover. Swish the lentils and water around with your hands. The water will turn cloudy – at this point drain it out. Add more clean water and repeat the process until the water is clear after swishing.

Once the lentils are rinsed, add them to a pot with 3 and three-quarter cups of fresh water. Don’t go rogue on me – follow the measurement as the amount of water will affect the thickness of the finish dal. Bring the water to a boil skimming off any white foam that appears on top of the water. Reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover and cook for 15 minutes. The lentils will cook for another 5 minutes when you add them to the tarka so try not don’t overcook them.

After the lentils are cooked, whisk them for a minute to break them up. After you prepare your tarka, the lentils will be stirred in and left to infuse. Simples.

While this red lentil dal is completely delicious on it’s own I love adding silky roasted eggplant cubes to mine. I pop them in the oven before I begin cooking the lentils and find they are ready pretty much at the same time the dal is. Cubed pumpkin, carrot or sweet potato also works beautifully. You will just have to adjust their cooking times.

Pro Tips

  • Be prepared! Before I cook anything I make sure all my ingredients are ready to go. I pop the mustard seeds and cumin seeds in a little bowl with the ground spices in another. Everything is at hand ready for cooking.
  • Cheat! Before cooking I throw my tomatoes and garlic in to my processor to chop together. I wipe the bowl out and also chop my onion followed by my green peppers (chillies) separately.
  • Adjust! If you don’t like things too spicy, remove the seeds from the green peppers before chopping.

Healthy, aromatic and so easy to make, this Masoor dal makes a wonderful and quick dinner. While I would still like to try my husband’s vegetable curry again one day (hint!) I am more than happy to bide my time with this gloriously golden and flavoursome bowl. Enjoy,x.

Faq’s

Can I freeze my Masoor Dal?

Yes! Once cooled completely, you can pop your dal in to a sealed, freezer-friendly container safely for up to 3 months. NOTE: Dal will keep in the fridge for only a few days.

Can I use canned tomatoes?

You can. It will change the flavour slightly but they will work fine in a pinch. A 400ml can (13.5oz) should do the trick.

More quick and healthy recipes:

Overhead image of a rustic white bowl full of Masoor dal on an old wooden box with yoghurt and coriander to the side
A white bowl of Masoor Dal sitting on a wooden bench

Masoor Dal with Roasted Eggplant

After a quick, healthy, gluten-free vegan meal? This Masoor Dal with Roasted eggplant is beautifully aromatic, flavoursome and simple to prepare.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Masoor Dal | Red Lentil Dal
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 347kcal
Author: Amanda Logan

Ingredients 

For the Eggplant

  • 2 medium eggplants cubed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt

For the Masoor Dal

  • 1 ¼ cups / 255g dried red lentils
  • 3 ¾ cups / 937ml water
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or a neutral flavoured cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 onions finely diced
  • 1 tbsp ginger finely grated
  • ¾ tsp garam masala
  • ¾ tsp turmeric
  • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 3 tomatoes, well chopped well 240 grams cherry tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2-3 green chillies remove seeds if you don't like things too hot
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a good crack of black pepper

Instructions

  • To prepare the eggplant preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) and line a roasting tray
  • Combine the eggplant cubes, olive oil and salt in a bowl and massage to combine. Lay the eggplant out on the prepared tray and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • While the eggplant is cooking, pick over the red lentils and remove any hard stones. Rinse thoroughly – until the water runs clear – before adding them to a saucepan with the water.
  • Bring the lentils to a boil over medium heat skimming any foam from the top. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 15 minutes. When cooked, whisk the lentils and any remaining water to break up and combine.

For the Tarka

  • While the lentils are cooking, prepare the tarka. Heat the oil in a skillet or pan over medium to high heat. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and cook for twenty seconds or until the seeds begin to pop. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and ginger and cook for 3-5 minutes until soft. Stir reguarly so they don't stick to the pan too much.
  • Stir in the garam masala, turmeric and ground coriander seeds and cook while stirring for 30 seconds.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and garlic and the chopped chillies. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the lentils and reduce the heat to low. Add the salt and pepper and the roasted eggplant and cook the complete dal for 5 minutes for the flavours to infuse.
  • Serve with rice or naan bread, dairy-free natural yoghurt and fresh coriander.

Notes

Pro Tips:
  • Be prepared! Before I cook, I make sure all my ingredients are ready to go. I pop the mustard seeds and cumin seeds in a little bowl with the ground spices in another. Everything is at hand ready for cooking.
  • Cheat! I throw my tomatoes and garlic in to my processor to chop together. I wipe the bowl out and also chop my onion followed by my green peppers (chillies) separately.
  • Adjust! If you don’t like things too spicy, remove the seeds from the green peppers before chopping.
  • Fresher lentils will cook more quickly than less-fresh ones – you know… the ones living in the back fo your pantry. 
NOTE: Cook the lentils in the amount of water specified in the recipe. More or less will affect the thickness of the finished dal. 

Nutrition

Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 658mg | Potassium: 1020mg | Fiber: 22g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 567IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Please rate it & leave your feedback in the comments section below. Or you can tag @mygoodnesskitchen or hashtag #mygoodnesskitchen on Instagram. Thank you!
A bowl of eggplant dal on a wooden table.

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About Author

Amanda Logan is a published cookbook author, recipe developer and food photographer based in Australia. She is a contributor to Nourish Australia magazine and has appeared in Thrive Magazine, Vegan Food and Living, The Zoe Report and The Australian Vegan Magazine.

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Kat Varcoe-Cocks
Kat Varcoe-Cocks
July 4, 2020 9:12 am

Hi Amanda, I’m looking forward to trying this recipe later today. I have a bag of yellow lentils in my pantry,. Are they ok to use? or should i get some red ones. I am popping to the shops for a couple of other things so it would be easy.
Thanks 🙂

Kat Varcoe-Cocks
Kat Varcoe-Cocks
July 11, 2020 3:24 pm
Reply to  Amanda

5 stars
Thanks Amanda,
I ended up getting red lentils, it came out really well. The kids enjoyed it with rice. I held back the eggplant for them – but I loved it. Will add it to my go to recipies!!
Kat x

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