Piyaji Dal Lentils with Onion Temper

Piyaji Dal
Simple classic
Bengali Piyaji dal

The simple Bengali dal adorns most Bengali tables, most days.

Traditionally the dal is aways whisked smooth and the temper can vary…from whole seeds and spices or just fresh herbs and ingredients.

I’m recovering from a shoulder operation. 10 days in, arm in sling, bored senseless so I cooked this dal today.

Piyaji dal is all about the onions. The onion flavour and temper. This one is not blended, it’s just gently cooked with onion and uses the simple spicing of tumeric.

Hubby helped with slicing and grating. It was cathartic. Cooking again. I even managed to take few clicks left handed!

So here is Piyaji Dal. I finished it of with dried crispy ready fried onions as I love the richness it imparts when it softens into the Dal. An Aji red chilli from my plant and fresh coriander garnish.

Pretty chuffed with a left handed accomplishment!


1 onion, half grated, half finely sliced.
1 cup masoor dal
1 tsp salt
1.5 cups water
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 dried red chillies
1 bayleaf torn
3 green chillies slit
3 tbsp fresh chopped coriander
1 red chilli chopped
1 tbsp crispy fried onions
4 tsp of oil or ghee


Rinse and wash the masoor dal till water runs clear.

Place the lentils in a pan on stove, add the grated onion, salt and water. Bring to boil then simmer. Be mindful that it does not boil over.

When the dal is soft to touch add the tumeric and stir in. You want it thick with a little water as it thicken further after temper and on standing. Keep it on a low heat.

In a separate small pan add the oil or ghee.
Add the bayleaf, dried chilli and let it darken slightly. Add the finely sliced onions and slit green chillies and fry till golden brown.

Add this to the dal. Stir, cover and simmer for a few minutes to your preferred consistency.

Garnish just before serving with chopped fresh chillies, coriander and fried crispy onions!

Serve with hot rice, a slice of lemon, green chilli and side of bhaji.


By all means you can add fresh garlic slices to the fried onion temper if you wish but I do like the flavour of the onions alone.

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