Red Lentil Dal

Red lentil dal

Dal, a kind of warm dip from Indian cuisine made of well-cooked legumes, is meant to be scooped up with fresh flatbreads such as chapatis or naan. Can’t find them? Use fresh pita instead.Tiny red lentils, available in natural food stores and imported food shops, cook to an appealing orange-gold color. Make it a little heartier by adding the optional potato or sweet potato to cook along with the lentils.

Serves: 6 to 8

  • 1 cup raw red lentils
  • 1 medium golden or red-skinned potato,
    or 1 small sweet potato or garnet yam, peeled and diced, optional
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh or jarred ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Salt to taste

Rinse the lentils and combine them with 3 cups of water in a large, saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the lentils are quite mushy, about 40 minutes.

Heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until golden. Stir into the saucepan with the cooked lentils and the remaining ingredients.

Simmer over very low heat, covered, for 15 minutes. The texture should be kind of a cross between a very thick soup and almost like a mashed potato texture. If using potato or sweet potato, make sure it’s nicely done as well. If need be, add a bit more water, but just a little at a time.

If making ahead, let cool and store in a covered container. Reheat before serving, transfer to one or two serving bowls, and serve warm with flatbread.


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4 Responses to “Red Lentil Dal”

  1. I just made this and the 4 cups of water is to much. I had to remove a cup of water when it was done because it was not a “thick soup” texture. Flavour is good though. Will make this again but with 3 cups of water intead of 4.

  2. Nava says:

    Thanks, Sarah. I will re-test this with your suggestion of less water. I also don’t think it should take the lentils 40 minute to cook. I’ll make any adjustments needed once I see what had gone amiss.

  3. Kim says:

    Love this recipe. I think the water to lentil ratio is perfect. It seemed like it was going to be a little too water, but when it cooled a bit it was perfect. I cooked the lentils for slightly less than 40 mins. I made a double batch when it was done because we ate the first batch almost immediately. This is going to be staple in our house.

  4. Nava says:

    Glad you enjoyed it, Kim. I love to garnish simple soups like this with wilted greens.

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