Masoor Dal Biryani

Masoor Dal Biryani – Guest Post by Mahjabeen Sayed

This recipe for Masoor Dal Biryani has been contributed by Mahjabeen Sayed, the mother of one of my colleagues, Afreen Sayed. In fact, the recipe that Mahjabeen-ji has shared is very versatile and can be adapted to make a variety of biryanis. This is my first adaption of this wonderful recipe.

I have never met Mahjabeen-ji personally but seem to know her well through the lovely dishes I taste in Afreen’s lunch. Afreen herself is a great foodie and is brimming with recipe ideas.

Me thinks my recruitment team subconsciously evaluates every potential team member for their “foodie quotient.” Not much else can explain how so many foodies congregate at one place. 😀

Anyway, coming back to the recipe for Masoor Dal Biryani, this is the first time I have cooked with whole Masoor Dal. I now realise what I have been missing.

What I particularly liked about this Biryani recipe is that it gets done very easily and is a no-fuss recipe that yields great results. Thank you, Mahjabeen Sayed, for this recipe. It made for a perfect Sunday lunch. Hope to have many many more recipes from you and cook for you someday. 🙂

Do also try the recipe for Masoor Dal Biryani with Boiled Egg.

Masoor Dal Biryani or Masur Dal Biryani

How to Make Masoor Dal Biryani

Masoor Dal Biryani – Guest Post by Mahjabeen Sayed
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
This recipe for Masoor Dal Biryani is very easy to make and nutritious because it uses Whole Masoor Dal (Whole Red Lentil).
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 Cups
Author: Aruna
  • 1 Cup Basmati Rice
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Masoor Dal
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Dahi or Curd
  • 1/2 + 1/2 Cup Finely Sliced Onions
  • 1 tsp Freshly Grated Ginger
  • 1 tsp Freshly Grated Garlic
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 tsp + 2 tbsp Ghee
  • 2-3 drops Yellow or Saffron Food Colour - 2 or 3 drops optional
  • A Few Mint Leaves for Garnish
  • Salt to Taste
Whole Garam Masala for the Rice
  • 5 Pepper Corns
  • 1 tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1" piece Cinnamon
  • 3 Green Cardamom
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 2-3 Petals Javitri or Mace
Whole Garam Masala for the Masoor Dal Gravy
  • 5 Pepper Corns
  • 5 Cloves
  • 1 tsp Shah Jeera
  • 1" piece Cinnamon
  • 3 Green Cardamom
  • 2-3 Petals Javitri or Mace
  • 2 Leaves Dry Bay or Tej Patta
Preparing the Masoor Dal
  1. Wash and soak the masoor dal in 2 cups water for about 2 hours.
Preparing the Basmati Rice
  1. Wash the basmati rice thoroughly.
  2. Soak the rice in about 3 cups of water for 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the water.
  4. Tie the spices mentioned as whole garam masala for rice in a small piece of cloth to form a “potli.” (I have a tea infuser and put all the spices in that).
  5. To 3 cups of water, add the whole garam masala “potli” and ½ tsp salt.
  6. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
  7. Add the soaked basmati rice.
  8. Cook till the rice is al-dente or 75% cooked.
  9. Drain all the water and set aside.
Prepare the Sliced Onions for Garnish
  1. In a non-stick pan, heat 2 tsp of ghee.
  2. When the ghee is hot, add ½ cup sliced onions and 2 large pinches of salt.
  3. Over medium flame, stir-fry till the onion slices are golden brown.
  4. Set aside.
Making the Masoor Dal Gravy
  1. In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat 2 tbsp ghee. This vessel should be large enough to accommodate the rice that will be added later.
  2. Add the spices mentioned as whole garam masala for Masoor Dal gravy.
  3. Stir-fry for 10 seconds.
  4. Add ½ cup finely sliced onions.
  5. Stir-fry till the onions start to turn brown.
  6. Add the ginger and garlic.
  7. Stir-fry till the raw smell of ginger and garlic disappears; about 10 seconds.
  8. Add finely chopped tomatoes, red chilli powder, and turmeric.
  9. Stir-fry till the tomato pieces are softened.
  10. Add the soaked and drained masoor dal.
  11. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
  12. Add ½ cup water.
  13. Cover and let the masoor dal cook. Add a little bit more water, if required.
  14. After the masoor dal has cooked and the water has evapourated, turn off the heat.
  15. Add ½ cup well-beaten dahi and salt.
  16. Mix well. Add a bit of water, if required.
  17. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Making the Masoor Dal Biryani
  1. Add the partly cooked rice to the masoor dal gravy.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Place a lid on the vessel. The lid should fit tightly so that no steam escapes from the vessel. Place a small weight on the lid, if required.
  4. Over low flame, cook the biryani till the rice is cooked. This takes about 10 minutes. Stir after 5 minutes.
  5. Let the Masoor Dal Biryani rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Garnish with deep-fried onions and mint leaves.
  7. Serve with Cucumber Raita.


Recipe for Masoor Dal Biryani or Masur Dal Biryani


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