Dal with Zucchini

Growing up I ate masoor dal (red lentils) virtually every day and loved it for its taste. Now that I’m older I also realize it’s great because it’s affordable and very nutritious as well. Another thing that I love is zucchini, which I never tasted before coming to the U.S. Dal and zucchini are not a common thing to eat together, but I’ve discovered over time that they go great together! Now I want to share this with you in a recipe.

Masoor dal cooks really fast and it’s easy to add in zucchini, or any type of vegetable such as tomatoes or green beans, while you’re cooking it.

I flavor the dal with a spice blend called Panch Phoron that I get from an Indian grocery store or from online. Panch phoron means “five spices” and has Fenugreek seednigella seed, cumin seed, black mustard seed and fennel seed.

Part of the reason I started pairing dal and zucchini is because my garden produced so many zucchini last year that I had to find creative ways to use it. I liked the combination of red lentils and zucchini so much that now I seek this out even when I have to get the zucchini from the store.

Any leftovers of this dish can be frozen for later use. In our household we don’t have any leftovers, however, as my family loves it! We eat it with naan, roti, or paratha (all from Trader Joe’s) or with rice. It somehow tastes better as it sits in the refrigerator for use the next day.


  • 1 1/2 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
  • 3/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cups green and yellow zucchini cut into 1/4-inch wide rounds
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tbsp. panch fhoron
  • 4-5 dried red chili
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped


Soak the lentils in cold water for at least an hour. After an hour, wash, rinse, and drain well. Transfer lentils to a large pot and add 5 cups of cold water, turmeric, and salt. Stir.

Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to simmer. Skim off (remove) foam that floats on top.

Add zucchini and cook partially covered until lentils and zucchini are tender. This will take about 10-12 minutes. Keep an eye so it doesn’t boil over.

While lentils are cooking, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add in oil and when hot, add panch fhoron and red chili. Cook for few seconds.

Add onion and garlic. Cook until onions are soft for about 3-5 minutes.

Add the cooked onion mixture to the cooked lentils and simmer on low for another minute or two.

Transfer lentils to a serving dish and garnish with chopped cilantro. I like to serve this as a soup or along rice or roti’s (Indian flour tortilla) as a side dish.

Serves 6-8

Did you make this dish? I’d love to know how it turns out! Feel free to like this post and comment or use the hashtag #globaldinein on Instagram. If you would to be notified of upcoming posts, please consider subscribing to my blog!

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