Masoorche tonak/Brown Lentils curry

Brown Lentils cooked in authentic Goan spices in an onion-coconut base.

Masoorche tonak/Brown Lentils curry
Masoorche tonak/Brown Lentils curry

Lentils cook very fast when soaked for a couple of hours. And hence, my mom would cook this fairly regularly for breakfast to go with some chapatis or with bread from the local baker. My sister and me just loved this curry when we were growing up. My husband, just like us, surprisingly loves this curry.

My mom usually makes a big batch of garam masala powder. This eliminates the whole step of roasting and grinding the spices and cuts down on the prep time. She sends me some powder as well. So I always usually have some home-made garam masala powder handy in my kitchen. However, it is not that difficult to make it from scratch either. I can usually make this curry in less than 10 minutes hands-on time.

Masoorche tonak/Brown Lentils curry
To Pressure cook
  1. Whole brown lentils/Masoor - 1 cup
  2. Onion - 1 small, chopped
  3. Potato - 1 medium, cubed
To roast
  1. Coriander seeds - 4 tblspn
  2. Cloves - 5
  3. Peppercorn - 8
  4. Whole red chilies - 5 or to taste
  5. Cinnamon - 1/2 inch stick
  6. Garlic - 1 clove, chopped roughly
  7. Onion - 1 small, chopped roughly
  8. Shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
  9. Turmeric powder - 1/4th tspn
  10. Oil - 2 tspns
  1. Tamarind - a small marble sized ball
  2. Jaggery - 1 tblspn (Optional)
  3. Salt - to taste
  1. 1) Wash and soak lentils in about 2 cups of water, preferably overnight or for a couple of hours.
  2. 2) Transfer ingredients listed for pressure cooking into a pressure pan. Add water. Water level should be roughly 1/2 inch over the lentils level. Pressure cook on high for 1 whistle and on medium low for 2 more whistles. Let the pressure drop by itself.
  3. 3) In a separate pan over medium heat, toast all the spices listed from coriander seeds to cinnamon until a nice aroma is let out. Do not let the spices burn or get black. Transfer to a blender.
  4. 4) In the same pan, add oil, and add onion and garlic and saute until onion turns light golden. Add coconut and mix well. Fry until coconut color changes lightly. Add turmeric powder. Mix well. Switch off the flame.
  5. 5) Grind the toasted spices, coconut mixture with tamarind and jaggery with enough water to make a fine paste. I normally also add salt to this while grinding.
  6. 6) Add the ground paste to the cooked lentils. Add enough water to adjust the consistency. Adjust seasoning if needed. Let the mixture come to a boil over medium high flame. Switch off the flame. Serve with pav, roti or rice.
  1. Serves: 6-8
Meals and All Things Life

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