Matar Dal Recipe | Yellow Split Pea Dal

5 from 12 votes
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This Matar dal recipe is a combination of dried yellow split peas and a delightful assortment of whole spices, which prepares a highly delectable dal packed with full of flavors.

It takes the dish to the next level when the tempered spices are mixed with the boiled pea or matar dal.

Within just a few minutes, a lovely side dish is prepared. This dish is loved all over India and cooked in different ways.

Boiled matar or pea dal cooked with onion, ginger, garlic, red and green chillies, cumin seeds, and bay leaves teases your taste buds with a unique aromatic flavor.

Matar Dal

Key Takeaways:

  • Matar Dal is a traditional Indian dish made with yellow split peas (matar dal) and a blend of aromatic spices.
  • Soaking the lentils for a short period before cooking can help in reducing the cooking time and ensuring even cooking.
  • Tempering with whole spices like cumin seeds, mustard seeds, or dried red chilies can enhance the flavor of the dal.
  • Matar Dal pairs well with steamed rice, Indian breads like naan or roti, or even vegetable biryani as accompaniments.
  • Matar Dal can be customized with additional ingredients or variations of spices to suit individual preferences and create a unique flavor profile.

The Ingredients:

Matar Dal Ingredients

  • Matar Dal -250 gm (properly washed, soaked in water)
  • 1 large size tomato (chopped)
  • 1 large size onion (chopped)
  • ½ inch ginger (chopped)
  • 8-9 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 4 green chilies
  • Coriander leaves
  • Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds: ½ tsp
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Mustard oil 2.5 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste

How to Cook Matar Dal (Step by Step Image)?

1. Put a pressure cooker on a gas stove. Add the soaked matar dal in a pressure cooker and add water into it. Pressure-cook matar dal till 3 whistles.

Add the soaked matar dal in a pressure cooker and add water into it

2. Remove the lid, add some hot water into the half boiled dried dal in pressure cooker.

Adding hot water into the half boiled dried dal in pressure cooker

3. Put the lid on. Make sure you don’t seal it.

Putting pressure cooker lid on

4. After dal comes to a boil, ladle out the white foam.

ladle out the white foam from dal.

5. Add a little less than ½ tsp of turmeric powder.

Adding turmeric powder

6. Bring it to a boil once again.

Bring it to a boil once again

7. Take out the pressure cooker from the gas stove.

Take out the pressure cooker from the gas stove

8. Put a kadai on the gas stove.

Put a kadai on the gas stove

9. Add dry red chillies, cumin seeds and bay leaves to hot mustard oil.

Adding dry red chillies, cumin seeds and bay leaves to hot mustard oil in kadai

10. Add chopped onion; give it a good stir.

Adding chopped onion; give it a good stir

11. Add chopped garlic and grated ginger. Sauté them.

Adding chopped garlic and grated ginger and Sautéing them step by step image

12. Add green chillies and sliced tomatoes.

Adding green chillies and sliced tomatoes

13. Sprinkle salt to taste. Mix well. Continue stirring.

Sprinkle salt to taste

14. Add the liquid layer of boiled dal to the tadka. It will soften tomatoes more quickly.

Adding the liquid layer of boiled dal to the tadka

15. Add a little bit of turmeric powder. Mix well.

Adding a little bit of turmeric powder

16. Once the tadka is ready, pour the boiled matar dal into the pan.

pour the boiled matar dal into the kadai

17. Add a little more salt, Mix well. Let it come to a boil.

Adding a little more salt and mixing well

18. Finish it with coriander leaves. Alternatively, you can use curry leaves.

Finish it with coriander leaves

Pro Tips for Cooking Matar Dal

Here are some pro tips to enhance your cooking experience when preparing Matar Dal:

Soaking the lentils: Soaking the yellow split peas (matar dal) for at least 30 minutes or up to a couple of hours before cooking can help in reducing the cooking time and ensure that the lentils cook evenly. It also helps in softening the lentils and improving their texture.

Tempering with whole spices: Before adding the onions and other ingredients, you can enhance the flavor by tempering the oil or ghee with whole spices such as cumin seeds, mustard seeds, or whole dried red chilies. Sautéing these spices in hot oil or ghee releases their aromatic oils and adds an extra layer of flavor to the dish.

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Sautéing onions and tomatoes: Take the time to properly sauté the onions until they turn golden brown. This helps in developing a rich and deep flavor base for the dal. Similarly, cook the tomatoes until they become soft and mushy to ensure they blend well with the lentils.

Adjusting spice levels: Matar Dal can be customized to suit your taste preferences in terms of spice levels. Adjust the amount of green chilies and red chili powder according to your desired level of heat. Remember, you can always add more spices later if you prefer a spicier dal, but it’s challenging to reduce the spice level once it’s too hot.

Consistency and water: The amount of water you add will determine the consistency of the dal. If you prefer a thicker dal, use less water, and for a thinner consistency, add more water. Keep in mind that the dal tends to thicken as it cools, so it’s better to keep it slightly more liquid than desired.

Slow cooking for enhanced flavor: While a pressure cooker can expedite the cooking process, you can also cook Matar Dal in a regular pot over low heat. Slow cooking allows the lentils to absorb the flavors and spices more thoroughly, resulting in a richer taste.

Garnishing with freshness: Just before serving, garnish the Matar Dal with freshly chopped coriander leaves (cilantro). The vibrant green color and the refreshing aroma of coriander leaves will elevate the overall presentation and taste of the dish.

Remember, cooking is a creative process, and you can always experiment with additional spices or ingredients to tailor the Matar Dal to your personal liking. Enjoy the journey of preparing this delicious and wholesome dish!

What to Serve with Matar Dal?

Here are some delicious options to serve alongside Matar Dal:

Rice: Steamed basmati rice is a classic choice to accompany Matar Dal. Its fluffy texture and mild flavor complement the robust flavors of the dal. You can also try fragrant varieties like jeera rice (cumin-flavored rice) or pulao for an extra touch of flavor.

Indian Breads: Matar Dal is delicious with a side of freshly made Indian bread. Naan, a soft and pillowy leavened bread, is a popular choice. Roti (whole wheat flatbread), paratha (layered flatbread), or even chapati (thin unleavened bread) all work well. These breads are perfect for scooping up the dal and savoring the flavors together.

Poori: If you’re looking for a slightly indulgent option, serve Matar Dal with poori. Poori is a deep-fried bread that puffs up beautifully and has a crispy texture. Its rich taste complements the dal perfectly.

Vegetable Biryani: For a more elaborate meal, pair Matar Dal with vegetable biryani. The aromatic and flavorful rice dish with a mix of vegetables adds depth and variety to the meal. The spices in the biryani harmonize well with the dal, creating a delightful combination.

Remember, the choice of accompaniments ultimately depends on your personal preferences and the overall meal experience you want to create. Feel free to mix and match different options to create a satisfying and well-rounded meal with Matar Dal as the star.

How Does Matar Dal Taste?

The taste of Matar Dal can be described as earthy, mildly sweet, and nutty, with a touch of spiciness and aromatic undertones. Here are some key elements that contribute to the overall taste:

Lentil Flavor: The yellow split peas (matar dal) used in this dish have a mild and slightly nutty flavor. When cooked, they become soft and creamy, offering a velvety texture and a subtle taste of lentils.

Aromatic Spices: Matar Dal is infused with a blend of aromatic spices like cumin, turmeric, coriander, and garam masala. These spices impart warm and fragrant notes, enhancing the overall flavor of the dal.

Onion and Tomato Base: The sautéed onions and cooked tomatoes in the dal provide a savory and slightly sweet taste. The onions add depth and richness, while the tomatoes contribute a tangy and slightly acidic note to balance the flavors.

Heat from Chilies: Green chilies or red chili powder are added to Matar Dal to provide a subtle heat and spice. The level of spiciness can be adjusted to suit individual preferences, ranging from mild to medium or hot.

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Umami from Seasonings: The combination of spices, along with ginger-garlic paste, adds a touch of umami, creating a well-rounded and savory taste in the dal.

Freshness of Garnishes: The garnish of freshly chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) adds a burst of freshness and herbaceousness to the dish. The aroma and flavor of coriander leaves complement the overall taste of Matar Dal.

When all these flavors harmonize, Matar Dal offers a comforting and satisfying taste experience. It is a balance of mild sweetness, earthiness, aromatic spices, and a hint of tanginess, resulting in a delightful and flavorful lentil curry.

Matar Dal Alternatives

If you’re looking for alternatives to Matar Dal, there are several lentil-based dishes from various cuisines that you can explore. Here are a few options:

Dal Tadka: Dal Tadka is a popular Indian lentil dish made with a combination of lentils such as yellow moong dal, toor dal, or masoor dal. It is cooked to a creamy consistency and tempered with spices like cumin, mustard seeds, and garlic. Dal Tadka has a rich and comforting flavor and pairs well with rice or bread.

Chana Dal: Chana Dal is made from split Bengal gram (chickpeas) and has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. It is commonly used in Indian cuisine to prepare dal dishes, soups, and curries. Chana Dal can be cooked on its own or combined with vegetables for a hearty and protein-rich meal.

Lentil Soup: Lentil soup is a versatile dish that can be found in various cuisines around the world. It can be made with different types of lentils like red lentils, brown lentils, or French lentils. Lentil soup is often seasoned with herbs, spices, and vegetables to create a comforting and nourishing bowl of soup.

Lentil Curry: Lentil curries come in various forms across different cuisines. For example, in Thai cuisine, you can explore dishes like Red Lentil Curry or Yellow Lentil Curry, which feature the vibrant flavors of Thai spices and herbs.

Lentil Salad: If you’re looking for a lighter option, lentil salads are a great choice. You can use cooked lentils as a base and combine them with fresh vegetables, herbs, and a tangy dressing. Lentil salads are nutritious, refreshing, and can be customized with your favorite ingredients.

These are just a few alternatives to Matar Dal that showcase the versatility of lentils in different cuisines. Feel free to explore these options and experiment with flavors to find new and delicious lentil-based dishes that suit your taste preferences.

Recipe Card

Matar Dal

Matar Dal Recipe (Yellow Split Pea Dal)

By Mita Mondal
Matar Dal is a popular Indian dish made with yellow split peas, cooked with aromatic spices and flavors, resulting in a flavorful and nutritious dish.
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 5
Calories 149 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 250 grams Matar Dal (properly washed and soaked in water)
  • 1 piece Tomato (chopped)
  • 1 piece Onion (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic (chopped)
  • 4 pieces Green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Turmeric powder
  • ½ tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 3 pieces Dried red chilies
  • 3 pieces Bay leaves
  • 2.5 tablespoon Mustard oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Place a pressure cooker on a gas stove and add the soaked matar dal along with water. Pressure-cook the dal for 3 whistles.
  • Once cooked, remove the lid and add some hot water to the partially boiled dal in the pressure cooker.
  • Place the lid on the cooker without sealing it.
  • Bring the dal to a boil and skim off any white foam that forms on the surface.
  • Add a little less than ½ tsp of turmeric powder and bring it to a boil again.
  • Remove the pressure cooker from the stove and set it aside.
  • Heat a kadai (pan) on the stove and add mustard oil. Once the oil is hot, add dry red chilies, cumin seeds, and bay leaves.
  • Stir in chopped onions and sauté until they turn golden.
  • Add chopped garlic and grated ginger, and sauté them for a minute.
  • Stir in green chilies and sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle salt to taste and continue stirring.
  • Add a layer of the liquid from the boiled dal to the tempering mixture. This will help soften the tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle a little bit of turmeric powder and mix well.
  • Once the tempering (tadka) is ready, pour the boiled matar dal into the pan.
  • Add a little more salt, mix well, and let it come to a boil.
  • Finish the dish by garnishing with fresh coriander leaves or curry leaves.

Video

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Notes

Soaking the split green peas (matar dal) for about 30 minutes before cooking can help in reducing the cooking time and ensuring even cooking.
Adjust the consistency of the dal by adding more or less water according to your preference. Keep in mind that the dal tends to thicken as it cools, so you may need to add a little more water when reheating leftovers.
Use a pressure cooker to cook the dal for quicker and more efficient results. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can also cook the dal in a regular pot, but it may take longer.
Skimming off the white foam that forms on the surface of the dal while boiling helps in achieving a cleaner and clearer broth.
Feel free to adjust the spice levels to suit your taste. If you prefer a spicier dal, you can increase the amount of green chilies or add red chili powder.
The tempering (tadka) of spices in hot oil is an important step to enhance the flavor of the dal. Make sure the oil is hot before adding the spices to get the best results.
You can customize the tempering by adding other spices like mustard seeds, curry leaves, or asafoetida for additional flavor variations.
Freshly chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) add a refreshing touch to the dal. You can also garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice for a tangy twist.
Matar Dal tastes even better when allowed to sit for a while to let the flavors meld together. Consider making it ahead of time and reheating it before serving.
These recipe notes will help you achieve a delicious and well-balanced Matar Dal. Feel free to experiment and make adjustments according to your personal preferences. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info (Estimation Only)

Nutrition Facts
Matar Dal Recipe (Yellow Split Pea Dal)
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
149
Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
8
g
12
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
4
g
Sodium
 
706
mg
31
%
Potassium
 
345
mg
10
%
Carbohydrates
 
16
g
5
%
Fiber
 
6
g
25
%
 
3
g
3
%
Protein
 
5
g
10
%
Vitamin A
 
418
IU
8
%
Vitamin C
 
7
mg
8
%
Calcium
 
32
mg
3
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Conclusion

Matar dal is cooked with onion, ginger, garlic, red and green chilies, cumin seeds and bay leaves that tantalizes your taste buds with a unique aromatic flavour.

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You can serve it with hot boiled rice or chapatis. Try it at your home. I bet you cannot help but like it.

You can also boil matar dal in a pan but it will take a lot of time. So, I have used a pressure cooker for this purpose.

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