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overhead view of chicken pieces cooked in a red lentil curry sauce in a pan
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5 from 1 vote

Murghi aur Masoor Dal (Bombay-style Chicken with Red Split Lentils)

This hearty Indian chicken recipe features a robust sauce of red lentils, and an array of fragrant spices.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 703kcal
Author: Victoria


  • 250 grams (9 ounces) red split lentils, picked over, washed and drained
  • 75 grams (3 ounces) onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ to 1 fresh, hot green chili, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon peeled very finely chopped ginger, divided
  • 1 ½ liters (6 ⅓ cups) water
  • 1 ½ kilograms (3 pounds) jointed chicken pieces, skinned (I used a couple Cornish game hens instead of a standard larger chicken)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
  • ¼ to ¾ teaspoon Indian red chili powder (you can substitute cayenne)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro optional


  • Combine lentils, onions, green chili, cumin, turmeric, half the chopped ginger and the water in a big, heavy pan. Bring to a simmer, cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and cook on low heat for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are very tender. Add the chicken pieces and the salt. Mix and bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to low and simmer gently for 25 to 35 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
  • Put the oil in a small frying pan and set over medium heat. When hot, add the remaining ½ teaspoon chopped ginger and the garlic. Fry until the garlic turns slightly brown. Now add the ground chili powder. Lift up the frying pan immediately and pour its entire contents into the pan with the chicken and lentils. Also add the lemon juice, sugar, and garam masala. Stir to mix and cook on medium-low heat uncovered for about 15 more minutes until the mixture reduces and thickens a bit. It will continue to thicken as it sits.
  • Sprinkle the cilantro over the top just before serving, if desired.


  • This recipe uses kosher salt (aka cooking salt, kitchen salt, coarse salt outside of the US). If you are using table salt, definitely scale down the salt as that is a saltier type of salt! The type of salt will make a big difference in how salty your food tastes, so keep that in mind.
Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking


Calories: 703kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 56g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1064mg | Potassium: 108mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g