How to Prepare a Red Lentil Dhal

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Red Lentil Dhal or Dal is a fine Indian dish suitable for vegans if vegetable oil rather than ghee is used in its preparation. serve with plain or wild rice and a plain naan bread.

Serves: 4 Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Total time: 30 minutes


  • 200g/1 cup dried red lentils, uncooked (rinsed and fully drained)
  • 3-4 teaspoons vegetable oil (not coconut oil)
  • 400g/2 cup yellow onion, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves –  finely chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 900ml/4 cups  vegetable stock
  • 400ml/14ooz chopped tomatoes (a can)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger peeled and grated
  • ½ finely chopped red chilli or ½ teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Rinse the tofu well with water. Wrap in paper towels to remove excess moisture. Allow to sit for a half-hour.
  2. Rinse the red lentils and add to the stock in a large heavy bottomed saucepan.
  3. Heat on a medium level and cook by simmering for between 15 and 20 minutes
  4. Whilst these cook, heat oil in a frying pan or skillet. Add the cumin seeds and cook for a minute to develop the aroma.
  5. Add the onion, green chili pepper, garlic, and ginger; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onions are turn translucent.
  6. Add the turmeric,  salt, and tomato to the pan.
  7. Keep cooking until the tomato starts breaking up, lasts 2 to 3 minutes.  
  8. Stir the spiced onion mixture into the stock containing  lentils.
  9. Add the lemon juice and stir well. Taste and adjust salt.  If it is too wet, then cook on low until it thickens to your liking.
  10. Garnish with cilantro (coriander) and serve with basmati rice and naan bread.
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