Red Lentil Dal

March 4, 2010

Dal (lentils) is a staple food of India and eaten usually with rice. Red Lentil Dal is perfect to keep the cold at bay in your body until Spring and is a great recipe and as an alternative to Yellow Mung Dal.

Red Lentil Dal Ingredients

  • 1 C red lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained
  • 3 C water
  • 1 large tomato, cut up (or 8 oz. diced canned tomatoes)
  • ghee (butter can be substituted)
  • 1 medium onion (yellow or red), chopped
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, sliced (depending on how much garlic you like)
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • pinch of cayenne (optional)
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon or 2 T lemon juice (optional)
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro or parsley leaves
  • Diced carrots, zucchini or asparagus spears (optional)


  •  Place lentils, fresh tomato and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. (If using canned tomatoes, you will add them later).  Skim foam and discard.
  •  Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until lentils are tender and have lost their shape (about 40 minutes). Begin checking that there is still water in the pot at 30 minutes and add small amounts of water as needed.
  • Pick out any tomato skins and whisk Dal to emulsify it. Keep warm over low heat.
  • If you are adding vegetables, now is a good time to throw them in.
  • Make the tadka (Indian spice preparation) as follows:
    • Heat ghee in a medium skillet over semi-high heat.
    •  Add garlic and onion and saute.
    •  Add the spices and stir until you can smell the aroma then immediately remove from heat or it will burn.
    •  Stir into Dal.
  •  Add the cilantro or parsley, lemon juice, and the tomatoes (if canned).
  • Salt and pepper to taste

I like to fix this with brown basmati rice and stir together. I adapted this recipe from one which can be found in the book by Ruta Kahate called “5 Spices, 50 Dishes

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