Saufwali Masoor Dal (Fennel Spiced Brown and Red Lentils)

Saufwali Masoor Dal
Saufwali Masoor Dal

When you open your pantry and find the jar of brown lentils nearly empty you wonder what do I do next!! That is exactly what happened to me this morning so this idea of mixing brown lentils (chilke wali masoor dal) and Red lentils ( masoor dal) struck me. I decided to give it a twist by spicing it up with fennel.

Fennel in its powdered form is extremely aromatic and wonderful in meat, chicken and dals. I decided to roast fennel, coriander, cumin and red chilli powders in butter along with onion and then puree it to get a spice base for the Dal.

So here is Mumbai to Melbourne’s recipe for Saunfwali Masoor Dal or Fennel Spiced Brown and Red Lentils. 

Ingredients needed are:

  • Red Lentils (Masoor Dal)- 100 gms
  • Brown Lentils (Chilke Wali Masoor Dal)- 100 gms
  • Fennel Powder – 2.5 teaspoon
  • Coriander Powder- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cumin Powder- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Kashmiri Chilli powder- 2 teaspoon
  • Red Chilli Powder/ Cayenne Pepper- 1 teaspoon
  • Clove Powder- 1/4th teaspoon
  • Cinnamon Powder- 1/4th teaspoon
  • Butter – 1 tablespoon
  • Oil- 2 tablespoon
  • Tomato puree- 200 gms
  • Whole dried Red Chilli- 3 in no
  • Coriander leaves- 2 tablespoons finely chopped
  • Onion- 1 chopped
  • Ginger paste- 1 teaspoon
  • Garlic paste- 1 teaspoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar – 2 teaspoon
  • Asafoetida- 1 pinch
Saufwali Masoor Dal
Saufwali Masoor Dal

Method of Preparation:

  • Soak both the red and brown lentils in warm water for about 30 minutes. If using a pressure cooker, cook the lentils with 3 times the amount of water, salt and a few drops of oil for about 4 to 5 whistles. If using a saucepan, add about half a litre of water and slow cook the lentils for 30-40 minutes till completely cooked. Keep aside.
  • Take a wok, add the butter and 1 tablespoon oil and let it heat. Next add fennel powder, kashmiri red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, clove powder, and cinnamon powder and stir well for about 45 seconds to a minute. By then the spices would have roasted and leave their aroma. Next add the onion and curry leaves and keep the flame on low.
  • In about 5 minutes the onion would become translucent, switch off the flame. Add salt to taste and 2 teaspoon on sugar. Mix well and keep aside to cool. Once this mixture cools puree it to a fine paste. Add only little water if needed.
Saufwali Masoor Dal
Saufwali Masoor Dal
  • Next in the same wok add one tablespoon oil, let it heat now add asafoetida and the dried chillies. Let them crackle. Then add the tomato puree / diced tomato and cook till oil leaves the sides.
  • Now add the Spice puree we made and mix well. Again let this cook for about 5 minutes. Add finely chopped coriander, red chilli powder and salt. Mix well.
  • Now add this mixture to the pressure cooker. Take the weight off (seeti) the pressure cooker and place the lid and let it cook on low flame for 20 minutes. If you have cooked the lentils in a saucepan, add this mixture to the saucepan and cover with lid and cook on low flame for 20 minutes.
  • Your Saunfwali Masoor Dal or Fennel Spiced Brown and Red Lentils is now ready to dig in.
Points to remember while making Saunfwali Masoor Dal :

  1. Ensure you use both butter and 1 tablespoon of oil when roasting the dry spice powders. This will help bring out a depth of flavour in the dry spices.
  2. Remember to keep the flame on low to avoid burning the spices.
  3. Once the spice base and tomato puree mixture is cooked, adding it to the pressure cooker/ pot and slow cooking it with the lentils will help release their flavours into the lentils better.
  4. This is a great recipe if you use a slow cooker. Plug it it and let it simmer away on the lowest setting for a few hours.


Recipe, Styling and Photography – Sharvari P Mehan

I hope you enjoyed today’s recipe. So if you are low on pantry ingredients you know you can always mix up your lentils and you will still have a winner on your hands.

Definitely leave me your feedback in the comments below.



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