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Office Lunch Box – Kali Masoor Dal & Beetroot Raita

LunchMain CourseOffice Lunch BoxIndianVegan

What to make for an office lunch box is a big headache every day. And because of the lockdown, we have become out of touch too. But do not worry. I will share some healthy, nutritious, quick, and easy lunch box recipes to ease your life. Check out all my lunch box recipes here.

You must try this kali masoor dal. It tastes so good, especially with rice or dalia. It is like that special dal which you make for your guests & the best thing is that it cooks fast. Also, this compliments so well with refreshing beetroot raita. With this recipe, you are all sorted for your office lunch tomorrow 🙂

STORY TIME

Recently, we went to India to meet my family. If you don’t know, we live in Munich, Germany. My mom told me that she has quite low hemoglobin and the doctor suggested her to eat beetroot. She eats it as a salad but that makes her throat dry and she can’t have a lot of it. And eating the same thing every day becomes boring very soon.

I made this beetroot raita for her and she loved it so much. In fact, all my family members enjoyed it. Now she makes it a lot. Sometimes she doesn’t need anything else but just a big bowl of beetroot raita. Oh yeah. It’s that tasty. Even we both don’t like pink food but we really enjoyed having this raita. Now whenever I get beetroot, I definitely make this raita. You must try this recipe.

I have one more simple boondi raita recipe. You can make that also with kali masoor dal. By the way, have you tried our mix moong dal? If not, definitely give that a try. It is simple, warm, comforting, and tastes amazing.

If you are in a hurry, watch the video instead and If you enjoy watching it, Plz Subscribe to our Youtube channel.

PREP AHEAD!

It is always a rush when you have to leave for the office in the morning. And then we tend to ignore the most important thing – our meals. Now we also have the option to buy food from the cafeteria or any restaurant. But, nothing can match the satisfaction and fulfillment of a home-cooked meal. With home-cooked food, you also know what is going inside your body. And don’t worry, with a little bit of preparation, making lunch box for office can be made easy.

Here are a few things which I follow:

1 – Meal Planning

This is such a Time Saver. I am doing it for years now and my life becomes so much easier when I know what to cook every day. I don’t prepare anything for the entire week but I make sure to plan my meals for the entire week. Obviously, it changes depending on our mood and appetite. But when I have the weekly meal plan list ready, I know what to buy from the grocery stores and I know what to cook the next day.

I don’t make an elaborate plan. Just mention the weekly meals in my Google Keep. Try this. Trust me, it will ease your life.

2 – Preps a day before

When your meal planning is done and you have the groceries for the week, you can simply check a night before about what you need to cook tomorrow. If there is any preparation that may take some time, do it before going to the bed. You will feel such a relief the next day.

Cut Veggies: For example, if you are making beans aloo sabzi, it is always better to cut it a night before or before going to the bed. It saves a lot of time in the morning. Refrigerate them in an air-tight container. Some people even cut all their vegetables like beans, onion, tomatoes, garlic, cauliflower and refrigerate them. But I prefer to cut while I cook or a night before if there is some serious chopping involved. But you do whatever suits you.

Soak Lentils: For dals (lentils), I always prefer soaking them for 30 minutes. It ensures faster cooking and better absorption of nutrients. I mostly wake up early so I soak them in the morning. But, if you don’t have time, soak them before going to the bed. This dal needs more soaking time. Soak it a night before or for at least 6 to 8 hours.

Knead the dough: If you prefer roti or paratha for lunch, I would suggest kneading the dough a day before. It saves a lot of time in the morning. I mostly don’t need to worry about it since Jatin takes care of it 🙂 It is his department. So, one extra tip – divide the work.

HOW TO COOK DAL?

There are a few methods of cooking dals/lentils:

1 – Instant Pot

This is the best kitchen machine to make dal. It is mess-free and tension-free. Since there is no pressure release like in a pressure cooker, there is no mess created. Also, I can just set the cooking time in the Instant Pot and do my work without any worry to keep an eye of switch off the flame once done. We both like mushy grains in our dal so we cook for a little long but you can adjust the water and set the time as per your preference. You will get the idea once you start cooking. To start with, just follow our recipe. Then, you can make adjustments accordingly.

2 – Pressure Cooker

The pressure cooker is available in mostly all Indian households. It cooks dals in no time. You just need to take care of the water level and the cooking time. All lentils or dals take different times to cook which you will figure out as you start cooking. To prepare kali masoor dal, add washed and soaked lentils to the pressure cooker with the spices. Add water, close the lid and cook on high flame for 1 whistle. After 1 whistle, lower the flame and let it cook for another 20 to 25 minutes. For all the measurements, check the recipe below.

If you feel, dal is watery or too thick, adjust the water accordingly next time.

3 – Pan or Pot

When we moved to Germany, we didn’t have any cooker or Instant Pot for a very long time. We cooked dals in a pot or pan for months. I won’t lie, it is time-consuming. I mostly cooked moong dal since that is one dal that cooks very fast. To make it in a pan, just add soaked dal along with the spices in the pan. Add water. Cover and let it cook on high flame till it comes to a boil. Lower the flame once boiled. Cover and let it cook till it becomes soft and mushy. If you need more water, add in between. Just make sure that the lentils are well cooked. The water and lentils are not separated.

But for kali masoor dal, I won’t suggest making it in a pan until needed.

BENEFITS OF BEETROOT

Research says that Whole beetroot consumption acutely improves running performance. It also says that if you consume beetroot juice, you can exercise for the same time with less oxygen needed. Mind-Blowing! (source: nutritionfacts.org). Beetroot consumption reports less exertion.

It is rich in nitrates, improves blood pressure and lung and brain function. It does not just improve physical performance but also mental performance. In short, include this vegetable in your diet. You have to start eating healthy to improve the quality of your life and have a better lifestyle.

IS THIS RECIPE VEGAN?

Yes. Of course.

Mostly, tempering is made in ghee but I prefer to use cooking oil. If you are a vegan, avoid adding ghee in dal. The recipe I shared here is totally plant-based. Even for the curd, I used plant-based curd. You can use any curd or yogurt for beetroot raita but if you are vegan, I would suggest to go for soy curd.

If you want more vegan recipe suggestions, try our Thai green curryvegan banana walnut muffinsvegan dal makhani.

MORE OFFICE LUNCH BOX RECIPES TO TRY

  1. Mix Veg Quinoa Pulao
  2. Punjabi Wadi Pulao
  3. Chana Dal Pulao

Quinoa Pulao
Quinoa Pulao

Punjabi Wadi Veg Pulao
Punjabi Wadi Pulao

Office Lunch box recipe - chana dal pulao
Chana Dal Pulao

Now you are all ready to make this delicious meal (vegetarian) for your office lunch box. So, grab all the ingredients because you are ready to make a happy meal for yourself.

If you like the recipe, please share the photo on Instagram and tag us too @marriedfriends. We love to see your recreation of our recipes.

Happy Cooking 🙂

Love from us

Richa & Jatin

Recipe

Office Lunch Box – Kali Masoor Dal & Beetroot Raita

Healthy. Tasty. Vegan.

Servings

3

Prep Time

15 min

Cook Time

1 hour

Rest Time

0 min

Ingredients

Kali Masoor Dal

  • 1 cup Kali Masoor Dal
  • 1 l Water
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Dhania Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp Asafoetida (Hing) powdered
  • 1 (large) Onion chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves finely chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes chopped
  • Coriander Leaves chopped, to garnish
  • Butter or Ghee as needed

Beetroot Raita (per serving)

  • 1/2 cup Curd
  • 3 tbsp Beetroot grated
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp Cooking Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • A few Curry Leaves

Steps

Pressure Cook Dal

  1. Soak dal overnight or at least for 6 to 8 hours.
  2. Wash 2 to 3 times with water.
  3. In the Instant Pot (or pressure cooker), add dal, approx. 700 ml of water, salt to taste, 1/2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder, 1/4 Tsp Turmeric Powder. 
  4. Cover the lid and pressure cook for 25 minutes.
    If using a pressure cooker, cook on high flame for 1 whistle and then lower the flame and cook for another 20 minutes.
  5. After 25 minutes, let it depressurize itself. Meanwhile, let's prepare the tempering.

Tempering Dal

  1. In a pan, heat some cooking oil.
  2. Once the oil is heated, add cumin seeds and asafoetida. Stir and let them sizzle for around 20-30 seconds. Be careful not to burn them.
    If the oil is hot, keep the flame low and cook for a few seconds.
  3. Add chopped garlic and onion to the pan. Saute till they are soft and slightly brown. 
  4. Add chopped tomatoes and cook till they are soft and mushy. Add salt to taste. It releases the moisture from the tomatoes and helps in faster cooking.
  5. Add dal, approx. 300 ml of water. Mix and let it cook on low flame till you get the desired consistency. This cooking is important for all the flavors to combine well. I cook it for around 20 minutes on medium-low flame. 
  6. Once you get the desired consistency, switch off the flame. Garnish with coriander leaves and some butter or ghee. 
    The consistency should neither be runny or watery nor thick.

Beetroot Raita

  1. In a bowl, add curd, grated beetroot, and salt. Mix well.
  2. Prepare the tempering. In a ladle or tadka pan, heat some oil. 
  3. Once the oil is heated, add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Let them sizzle for a few seconds.
  4. Remove from the flame and immediately add curry leaves. Let it sizzle for a few seconds. 
  5. Pour the tempering over the bowl of raita. Mix well and your raita is ready.
  6. Serve dal and raita with some roti, paratha, or rice. I enjoy it with some cooked dalia. Enjoy your happy meal :)
frequently asked questions

FAQs

How to cook dal or lentils?
+

All lentils or dals take different times to cook which you will figure out as you start cooking and follow the recipe instructions. There are a few methods of cooking dals/lentils:

  1. Instant Pot: This is the best kitchen machine to make dal. It is mess-free and tension-free. Since there is no pressure release like in a pressure cooker, there is no mess created. Also, I can just set the cooking time in the Instant Pot and do my work without any worry to keep an eye of switch off the flame once done. We both like mushy grains in our dal so we pressure cook for a little long (8 to 10 minutes) but you can adjust the water and set the time as per your preference.
  2. Pressure Cooker: The pressure cooker is available in mostly all Indian households. It cooks dals in no time. You just need to take care of the water level and the cooking time. To prepare moong dal, add washed and soaked lentils to the pressure cooker with the spices. Add water, close the lid and cook on high flame for 1 whistle. After 1 whistle, lower the flame and let it cook for another 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Pan/Pot: To make it in a pan, just add soaked dal along with the spices in the pan. Add water. Cover and let it cook on high flame till it comes to a boil. Lower the flame once boiled. Cover and let it cook till it becomes soft and mushy. If you need more water, add in between. Just make sure that the lentils are well cooked. The water and lentils are not separated.

What is Indian Dal?
+

Indian dal is a term used for lentils, pulses, peas, and beans. There are many types of dals – urad dal, masoor dal, kidney bean, chickpeas, moong dal, etc. They are available in different forms too – whole, split, with, or without peel (chilka). They all taste different and are very tasty. These are soaked and cooked with some spices and water till they get a porridge-like texture. In many parts of India, lentils are the staple food of the people there. For example, Punjab is famous for its maa-chane ki dal or rajma-chawal while in Uttar Pradesh, people eat dal, chawal, roti, sabzi every day. These are nutritious and a very good source of proteins.


Can we eat dal everyday?
+

Yes. Dal is healthy, nutritious, and a very good source of proteins. I am from Uttar Pradesh and I have grown up eating dal every day for lunch. Even today, it is a must-have in our lunch along with some sabzi, rice, and roti. There are so many dals (pulses or lentils) available that you can make something new every day.


What are the benefits of eating dal?
+

Lentils got their name because of their lens shape. They are an inexpensive ingredient to get a wide range of nutrients. They are a good source of proteins, vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium. They are rich in fibers and promote healthy bowel movement. There are many different kinds of lentils and they all vary in their nutrients. So, include all in your kitchen and in your diet.


What are the benefits of beetroot?
+
Research says that Whole beetroot consumption acutely improves running performance. It also says that if you consume beetroot juice, you can exercise for the same time with less oxygen needed. Mind-Blowing! (source: nutritionfacts.org). Beetroot consumption reports less exertion. It is rich in nitrates, improves blood pressure and lung and brain function. It does not just improve physical performance but also mental performance. In short, include this vegetable in your diet. You have to start eating healthy to improve the quality of your life and have a better lifestyle.

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