rinse ½ cup whole masoor dal very well in water a couple of times.
then take the rinsed masoor lentils in a pressure cooker along with 1 cup water. pressure cook for 10 to 11 minutes or for 4 to 5 whistles.
when the pressure comes down on its own, remove the lid and check the lentils. the lentils should be cooked well yet separate. they should not be mushy. if you get a slight bite in them, then pressure cook for 1 to 2 whistles more.
roasting and grinding
when the lentils are cooking, heat up a small pan and add 1 tbsp sesame seeds. roast the sesame seeds on a low flame till they change color and start to pop.
then add 3 tbsp desiccated coconut.
on a low flame, with a continuous stir, roast both the ingredients, till the coconut becomes golden. remove and keep aside.
once this mixture becomes warm or cools down, add them to a dry grinder.
without adding water, grind to a fine mixture. keep aside.
preparing the curry
heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and add ⅓ cup finely chopped onion.
stir and saute on a low to medium flame till the onions start to turn light golden.
then add 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste. stir and saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
next add ½ cup chopped tomatoes.
stir and saute the tomatoes till they soften and become pulpy.
now add ¼ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp cumin powder, ½ tsp garam masala powder, 1 tsp red chili powder and 1 tsp coriander powder.
stir and mix well.
then add 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves. mix again.
add the ground sesame seeds + desiccated coconut mixture.
mix and stir again.
add the cooked masoor dal along with ½ cup of the stock in which the masoor dal was pressure cooked. if the stock is less, then add overall a half cup of the stock + water. you can also add ½ cup water.
season with salt. stir well.
simmer the curry on a low to medium flame without a lid for 5 to 6 minutes.
when you see oil floating on the top, the curry is done. for a dry curry, add less water and cook till all the water evaporates.
garnish with some chopped coriander leaves and serve kolhapuri style akkha masoor hot with some soft chapatis, bajra or jowar rotis or steamed rice. you can also have akkha masoor with bread or pav.