Red lentils, also called masoor dal, are small, hulled and split lentils, salmon pink in colour when raw and yellow in colour when cooked.
Red lentils, handily, require no pre-soaking before cooking, cook very quickly and have a delicate, nutty taste, so are a useful store cupboard staple. A traditional use for red lentils is in a tarka dal, where the lentils having been cooked in water until tender, are seasoned with hot spiced oil or ghee just before serving.
They are also used in shami kebabs, made from spiced minced lamb. Their soft texture when cooked means that are also popular for soups, such as mulligatawny, an Anglo-Indian chicken soup. Use red lentils as a versatile base for curries, combining them with vegetables, poultry or meat and flavouring them with aromatic spices such as turmeric, coriander and cumin.