A long time ago, an Indian friend sent me a recipe for Masoor Usal – the one that her mother makes. All this time later, I have forgotten who that was. (If it is you, please let me know!)
All I can say is that this recipe is wonderful. Deep comforting flavours, soupy enough to eat with rice, but with the ability to control the liquid if you prefer it as a side dish.
Our other Usal recipes are here. You might like to browse other Sprouts recipes, or other Masoor lentil recipes. Take some time and explore all of our Indian recipes. Or simply browse our Late Spring dishes.
Sprouted Masoor Usal
1 cup whole Masoor Lentils, sprouted (masoor is known as Red Lentils here, but they must be whole)
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped finely or use a garlic press
0.5 tspn tamarind juice, 3-4 Kokum peels, or add a squeeze of lime juice towards the end0.5 tspn jaggery
0.5 tspn Garam Masala (use Goda Masala if you have it)
0.5 tspn Indian chilli powder
pinch salt (or to taste)
2 – 3 tspns ghee
1 tspn mustard seeds
1 tspn cumin seeds
0.5 tspn turmeric powder
coriander leaves, chopped
Cook the sprouted lentils in 3 – 4 cups water for about 5 minutes. Make sure they are softened but not mushy. Drain, retaining the water.
Heat the ghee in a pan over high heat. Adjust the heat down a little and add the mustard seeds and let them pop completely.
Add the cumin seeds. After a few moments, add the garlic. Stir, and after another moment, add the chopped onion. Saute until translucent.
Now add the turmeric, masala and chilli powder. Mix well, but don’t burn the spices.
Add the lentils and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add enough of the reserved water to allow the lentils to cook. Add the kokum or tamarind water, if using, and the jaggery. Season with a little salt.
Simmer the lentils 5 – 8 minutes. Adjust the consistency with more water if necessary. The consistency can be dry, or can be a little liquid if eating over rice.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice now if the tamarind and kokum were not used.
Garnish with coriander leaves and coconut.
recipe notes and alternatives
You can also make this with soaked masoor lentils (not sprouted).