Dhal - Brown and Moth Lentils

Dhal, such a staple food for so long in the Indian subcontinent. Growing up, whenever my mum said dhal was for dinner, I was always so unimpressed and it meant an excuse to fill up on snacks before dinner as you knew you would be eating the bare minimum required to not get told off. But like most of the food we were not fond of as children, as adults you grow a love for it. Well almost, I still am not so keen on the red or orange lentils, with these being my least favourite dhal. In order of preference I would say my preference is Dhal Makhani, Brown Lentils and Toor Dhal.

This was my first time making this combination of brown lentils(masoor) with moth beans (arid) in my newly discovered pressure cooker and it turned out delicious, a great midweek meal. Not as indulgent as dhal makhani, but still creamy, warming and quick. I made it on a particularly grey day, quite early on and the smell, whistle of the pressure cooker and having dinner ready before lunchtime were all small wins, and lets face it we need all the small wins we can get. Especially as my children said dhal is yuk and they dont want to eat it, before proceeding to finish the lot with cous cous and eat it for lunch again the next day. Childrens compliants, I guess some things are as a timeless as a pot of dhal.

You could easily make this in an instant pot too, or the traditional pot method, just cook it for a lot longer and add in more water as required. I soaked 1 cup of each lentils then night before in plenty of water to also reduce the cooking time.


1 cup of Brown Lentils
1 cup of Moth Beans
1 tbsp Rapeseed Oil
2 tbsp Salted Butter
2 tsp Cumin Seeds
4 Garlic cloves crushed
1 Onion finely chopped
2 inch of ginger
1 green Chili
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1/2 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Ground Cumin
2 tsp Ground Coriander
2 tsp Garam Masala
Chopped Coriander to garnish


1.Soak lentils in plenty of water overnight

2.Rinse lentils and place in a pressure cooker with fresh water, enough to cover them by around 1.5/2 inches above, ensuring you do not exceed the max limit of your pressure cooker. If using a traditional pot, add in hot water and boil with a lid covering lentils until soft - around 1 hour.
3.Let pressure cooker reach two whistles before reducing the heat and allowing the pressure to release naturally.
4.In a separate pot, add in oil and butter and heat for 2 minutes.

5.Add in cumin seeds and cook for 2 minutes.

6.Add in garlic and brown for 2 minutes before adding in the onion and cooking out until a deep brown, around 15 minutes.

7.Add in ginger and chili.
8.Add in salt, pepper, ground spices and cook out for 2-3 minutes, if the pan is too hot add in a spoon of the dhal soupy water.
9.Add in all the dhal and cooking liquid, garam masala and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
10.Garnish with coriander and serve to fussy children.