Masoor Usal or Brown lentils curry

  • 1½ cup Brown lentils, washed and soaked for 20-30mins
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1-2 tbsp. Oil for cooking
  • 1 tbsp. Black mustard seeds or mohiri 
  • 6-7 Green curry leaves or kadipatta
  • 2 Dry red chilies (optional)
  • 5-6 Garlic cloves minced of finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. Chili powder, adjust the quantity depending on how hot the powder is & also the dry chilies
  • 2-3 tsp. Coriander powder
  • 2 tsp. Cumin powder
  • 2-3 tsp. Garam masala powder or any mixed spice mix you have on hand
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander for garnishing (optional)
  1. Heat oil in a  large non- stick deep pot. You can also make this in a pressure cooker.  
  2. Add the black mustard seeds, asafoetida, dry chillies (if using) and curry leaves, mix for 1 minute and add the turmeric and chili powder. Mix and cook for 1 more minute and add the sliced onion.
  3. Cook the onion till its translucent and then add the shredded or desiccated coconut. Lower the heat to low-med as the coconut tends to burn quickly. Now add the garlic and cook for 2-3 mins. Again make sure nothing burns.
  4. Add the coriander & cumin powder next and mix everything well. Cook for 1min and add the lentils.
  5. Make sure the lentils are coated properly with the spices. Next add salt to taste and water.
  6. Cover and cook till the lentils are cooked, but not mushy.
  7. Just before you turn the heat off add the garam masala powder and give everything a good mix and cook for another 1-2 mins.
  8. Turn off heat , leave  the lid on and let it cook in its own heat, before you are ready to serve.

Goes well with roti, can be eaten with some steamed rice or bread as well.
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