Lentils on the Indian table have a hallowed presence. They are both the simplest and the the deepest of meals, soulful and comforting. This recipe has notes of South India, in their simple flavors. It gets done almost effortlessly in the pressure cooker. This version is made with Tuvar Dal or Pigeon Pea lentils, also known as Arhar Dal.

Indian Tangy Lentils With Curry Leaves and Red Chilis [Vegan]


3 - 4

Cooking Time




  • 3/4 cup tuvar dal (pigeon pea lentils)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger paste
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/3 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste

To temper and to finish

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon asafetida
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 2 to 3 dried red chilies broken
  • 1 lemon or lime
  • Cilantro to garnish


  1. Place the lentils in a pressure cooker, with the water, onion and ginger paste.
  2. Add in the tomatoes, turmeric, red cayenne pepper and salt and stir and cover and cook until pressure for 15 minutes.
  3. Cool and remove the cover and mix the lentils well.
  4. Heat the oil in a small pan for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add in the black mustard seeds and wait for them to crackle. Add in the asafetida followed by the curry leaves and dried red chilies and cook for a few seconds.
  6. Pour the oil into the lentils and mix well.
  7. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add some chopped cilantro.
  8. Serve with steamed rice.