Saboot masoor ki dal or whole red lentil sauce by Harini P

Saboot masoor or whole red gram/lentils are native to North India and were not much favoured in the South until recent times possibly because of their unavailability earlier. While the split lentils are a bright orange, the whole grams are brownish and resemble kulith/kollu/horse gram. These lentils cook very fast and have a very creamy texture and a nutty flavour. To cook you need to add water so that it stands at least an inch above the lentils as they swell slightly once cooked. The internet does not have much information except for what I found at the Cook's thesaurus. The site informs that lentils du Puy (French) can be substituted for these in preparations.

The pictures below are to help you identify and differentiate these from the other common lentils used in Indian cooking.

saboot massor or whole orange lentils by Harini P
Whole orange lentils /Saboot Masoor

Red gram OR Masoor dal
Split orange lentils / Masoor dal

Recipe: Saboot masoor ki dal / Whole red lentil sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 1litre
Recipe Level: Basic/Beginner/Easy
Spice Level: Low
Recipe/Post by: Sunshinemom

Whole red lentils/saboot masoor - 200g.
Onions - 3/4 cup finely chopped
Tomatoes - 1/2 cup coarsely chopped
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp.
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp.
Fresh ground coriander powder - 1tsp.
Salt to taste

To temper
Oil (I recommend mustard oil/kachhi ghani) - 2 + 1 tablespoons divided
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp.
Ginger (julienne) - 1tsp.
Garlic (Grated or minced) - 3 or 4 cloves
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Green chillies - 2 split lengthwise

To garnish:
Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp.
Onion rings - few as desired
Vegan Lentils,vegan side dish,vegan dal,vegan lentil sauce,masoor dal

  1. Cook the lentils in enough water without salt and set aside. I do this in a pressure cooker along with rice.
  2. Heat 2 tbsps. oil in a pan. If using mustard oil heat the oil till smoking hot. Allow it to cool to room temperature. Heat again and proceed as with other oils. This is done to rid the pungent odour characteristic of mustard oil.
  3. Once hot enough add the chopped onions and saute till pink. Add the chopped tomato and a pinch of salt and fry letting the tomatoes sweat well. When the oil separates add the chilli powder, turmeric powder and the cooked lentils. Mix well first without adding more water to squash some of the lentils. Now add enough water to bring the dal to a saucy consistency or make it thinner if you intend to have it as a soup. Adjust the salt and add the coriander powder. Let the sauce simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small wok or seasoning wok. When hot add the tempering ingredients in the order listed above. When the green chillies change to a light green shade (1 second) pour the tempering over the sauce. Optionally garnish with raw onion rings.
  5. Serve with indian flatbread or rice. Even as a soup it is healthy and tasty. Makes a great dinner for the winters.

Special Notes/Tips:
  • I use mustard oil in Winters as it is said to generate warmth in the body. During other seasons I prefer sesame oil or sunflower oil.
  • It is good even if you omit the tomatoes.

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  1. Srivalli // 3 January 2010 at 17:28  

    Wonder how they look so big when it is whole! Thats a lovely post Harini, I always wanted to try these..though I am not sure if the whole ones are available here. I have the split ones. Will have to check out in Nilagris next time..And pictures are great!