Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Khatti Dal ~ Hyderabad Style

Even though I am partial to golden yellow toor dal, I do think of masoor dal as the prettiest dal of all dals/lentils. Round and in reddish pink, they look like cute bindis. When cooked, they turn to tasty yellow mush. Masoor dal is rarely used in Andhra cooking and only place where you can find masoor dal recipes is Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra. People in the city prepare a dal called “Khatti dal” with masoor dal. Here masoor dal is cooked and seasoned with tamarind juice and ginger-garlic paste. Mildly sweet, pungent and tart, khatti dal dazzles the taste buds and tastes great on its own or with rice/chapatis.

Masoor Dal, Tomato and Tamarind (squeezed and strained juice)


1 cup masoor dal
1 tomato – finely chopped
¼ cup of finely chopped green chilli
¼ tsp each – turmeric, cumin and ginger-garlic paste
½ tsp salt or to taste
1 small lime sized tamarind pieces
Soak in a cup of warm water for 15 minutes. Squeeze and using a tea filter strain the juice to remove particles.

Wash and rinse the dal first. Take masoor dal in a big pot. Add 5 cups of water along with tomato, green chilli, turmeric, cumin and ginger-garlic paste. Mix and on high heat bring to a boil.

Then reduce the heat to medium and partially cover the pot with a lid. Simmer until the dal reaches fall apart stage. Takes about 15 minutes. At this time, stir in tamarind juice and salt. Mix and cook the dal for another 5 minutes.

The cooked dal will be so soft, I usually do not mash the dal. But if you like smooth consistency, go ahead and puree the dal using an immersion blender or wood masher.

Now do the popu or tadka. In a tadka pan or in a skillet, heat about a tablespoon of ghee or oil. Add and toast one after another, half teaspoon each – minced garlic, small pieces of dried red chilli, curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds – in the order mentioned. When mustard seeds start to jump around, add the cooked dal to the popu. Mix and serve with rice or with chapati.

Dazzling Dals: Khatti Dal with Chapatis ~ Our afternoon meal today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Chintapandu(Tamarind),Masoor Dal (Red Lentils) (Tuesday February 20, 2007 at 1:43 pm- permalink)
Comments (37)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

37 comments for Khatti Dal ~ Hyderabad Style »

  1. Simple and nutritious dal dish. I love masoor dal because its so quick cooking and doesnt need pressure cooking. Thanks for the recipe.

    Comment by Pavani — February 20, 2007 @ 1:50 pm

  2. Simple and comforting. I make it a similar way but minus the tamarind, will try it this way next time.

    Comment by Priya — February 20, 2007 @ 2:47 pm

  3. How healthy, simple and nutritious. Love the presentation. Nice … Nice…

    Comment by seema — February 20, 2007 @ 5:41 pm

  4. What a nice addition the tamarind would be! So far, I’ve used onions and always thought that it overpowered the lentils…Should try this new way!

    Comment by Trupti — February 20, 2007 @ 6:09 pm

  5. is it a terrible idea to use tamcon paste instead of the tamarind cake you link to? i’m trying to figure out how much of the paste this would be.

    Comment by meenakshi — February 20, 2007 @ 7:04 pm

  6. The dal looks delicious Indira. I’ve never tried this recipe before. I also tried Ma’moul for Monthly Blog Patrolling. It was delicious! Thanks

    Comment by mandira — February 20, 2007 @ 8:17 pm

  7. I love dal, I will have to try your recipe here. I’ve never put tamarind in dal before, it sounds like a wonderful idea!

    Comment by Maria — February 20, 2007 @ 10:14 pm

  8. My family is Hyderabadi and our version of khatti dal is a little different.

    The daal is first boiled then blended down. It is returned to the pan and cooked with salt, 1/4tsp red chili powder, 1/4tsp turmeric powder, 3-4 stems of curry leaves with the leaves on, and fresh lime juice. We only use tamarind if no limes or lemons are available. The daal is brought to a boil then simmered until slightly thickened. Remove the curry leave stems otherwise it looks too messy at the time of serving.

    For the tadka, we use whole (or halved) cloves of garlic and whole dried red chilies – again it doesn’t look as messy as minced garlic when poured over the daal.

    Your website is great, i discovered it recently. I followed your paneer recipe last night. I’m going to you it tonight to try your palak paneer recipe.

    Comment by sm — February 21, 2007 @ 2:51 am

  9. Indira,

    Nice recipe. The ingredients says “1/4 cup of green chilles” , wont the dal be tooo hot ??


    Comment by Aruna — February 21, 2007 @ 4:43 am

  10. I am in love with masoor dal too. 🙂 I make it almost the same with a couple of extra ingredients such as ginger and garlic.

    Comment by RP — February 21, 2007 @ 5:36 am

  11. oops you have those ingredients in there. Missed reading it.

    Comment by RP — February 21, 2007 @ 5:37 am

  12. Such a nice idea to make khatti dal using masoor dal, i have all the ingredients ready with me , will try soon and let you know. thanks for sharing Indira.

    Comment by Pooja — February 21, 2007 @ 7:07 am

  13. Masoor dal is so pretty!

    Comment by gattina — February 21, 2007 @ 8:37 am

  14. Hi Indira,

    I’m glad mahanandi is back 🙂
    My mom and husband discourage me from buying masoor dal. We are from Andhra too. In our families it is said that masoor dal brings ankle and knee pains. Though I’m not sure how true this is. Have you ever heard of such a thing?

    Anyways, Great website. Keep up the great work!

    Comment by Aparna — February 21, 2007 @ 10:27 am

  15. Sounds yummy and so easy to make..
    I am a big fan of lentils as delicious and healthy food group.I make a red lentil daal too, though my version has onions in it and no tamrind, so this will be a delightful change.

    Comment by Sakshi — February 21, 2007 @ 10:55 am

  16. Hi Indira
    very healthy recipe..looks yummy!!!

    Comment by swapna — February 21, 2007 @ 11:36 am

  17. Hi Aparna — Masoor dal has high proteins. If i t is consumed and one does not move an inch it can cause gases and hence the joint pains (ankle and knee in your case). Most of the times if heavy proteins are consumed, it is better to have some metabolism. Same goes with rajma or choley too.

    Comment by Whats — February 21, 2007 @ 11:46 am

  18. Masoor Dal is our favourite, just love it

    Comment by sandeepa — February 21, 2007 @ 12:06 pm

  19. Hi Indira,
    I have been reading your blog for few days and your recipes and photographs are so good. I usually make this with moong dal. Will have to try with masoor dal.

    Comment by Aahaar — February 21, 2007 @ 1:37 pm

  20. I love your blog. I visit it almost everyday. I was always told by my mom (and mom-in-law) that cooking dal and tomato (or for that matter anything that is sour) together will not cook the dal. Is that true?

    Comment by Bindu — February 21, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

  21. I am from Hyd but never knew about this. I am gonna try and include this in our Ugadi celebrations as a dish from Hyd :)…

    Comment by Luv2cook — February 21, 2007 @ 6:38 pm

  22. I am a ‘speed cook’ but love the slow cooked taste. Masoor is one of my favorites because of its quick cooking time. If I were to cook this recipe, I would not put so much water(it takes a long time to get to boiling point). I start with a small quantity of water, just enough to cover the dal, and just keep adding more water as the cooking proceeds. I find this almost halves the cooking time.

    Comment by devalina — February 22, 2007 @ 9:29 am

  23. Congratulations on winning the Food Indiblog of the year!
    Best wishes

    Comment by Priya — February 22, 2007 @ 12:29 pm

  24. Congrats on winning the Food Indiblog!

    musur daal is very common in bengali households too! it tastes very good with fresh lemon and potato fries.

    Comment by Dee — February 23, 2007 @ 2:39 am

  25. You mentioned that you like to read cookbooks from the library some postings ago. So, I thought I’d just add a reference to some delicious Masoor dal recipes I found in “Indian Home Cooking” by Suvir Saran. The delicious illustrations in that book forced me buy and try this dal for the first time…

    Comment by Anu — February 23, 2007 @ 10:10 am

  26. I Just made this dal becos Im a hyderabadi, The name kinda made me do it for my husband and its a super duper hit!

    Comment by Deepika Saripalli — March 27, 2007 @ 8:27 pm

  27. Hi Indria,

    I came across this website a few days ago and i find the recipies very interesting. I tried your Khatti Dal & Ridge gourd chutney and it was very good.

    Comment by Meena — March 30, 2007 @ 3:49 am

  28. I made this last night – fantastic! my husband loved it. I put in a little too much tamarind though.

    Comment by sandhya — April 2, 2007 @ 11:25 am

  29. Thanks a lot for the recipe! Its awesome.

    Comment by Divya — May 30, 2007 @ 8:37 pm

  30. And I must say, your site is very attractive.

    Comment by Divya — May 30, 2007 @ 8:40 pm

  31. Hi,

    Read the comment about massor dal causing knee and ankle pain. The real problem is that masoor dal is often adulterated with kesar dal – which looks very similar – and the alkaloid in it – beta oxylallanium – which can cause nervous debility and even paralysis. I am from Hyderabad too and my mom used to feel the same way about masoor dal – though i use it! Thankfully, this kind of adulteration is almost completely in the past now.

    Comment by anu — March 14, 2009 @ 1:13 am

  32. im only 14 and i just tried this recipe .
    cant wait to try more of your recipes

    Comment by alisha — August 26, 2010 @ 2:59 pm

  33. thanks for the recipe of khatti dal in a better way through this site, teh special hyderabadi khatti dal….full of spices!!!!

    Comment by suchi goyal — April 5, 2011 @ 4:29 am

  34. hi,thanks a lot for this recipe,my husband and kids love it and am cooking in today was looking for the recipe and came across yours thanks a million.

    Comment by taslim dadar — July 25, 2011 @ 11:25 am

  35. i love to eat hyderabadi dal wit white rice

    Comment by masiya — December 3, 2011 @ 8:41 am

  36. hi
    we usually add mustard in the begining for tadka, could you pls explain the significance of tadka-ingrediants order that u mentioned…

    Comment by neelima — January 16, 2012 @ 10:57 am

  37. Hi

    Have you ever heard of the khatti dal being made with a combination of
    Toor and masoor. Would love a reciepe for the same.

    Comment by Ron — November 9, 2012 @ 9:25 pm

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