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Red Lentil Dal

Red Lentil Dal

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I made some Red Lentil Dal today and it was so so yummy! It is different to our usual South African Indian cooking but oh so good.

Red Lentil Dal

Red Lentil Dal in a black bowl with curry leaf bottom left and roti top left

For the first part of the year I haven’t felt great health wise and I am trying to stick to healthy eating. Although I do cook whatever my kids want I don’t always eat the same thing.

I am feeling a lot better now. However, I am trying to take it slow.

If you know me you will know I really am a busy body. I try and do a million things in a day. 

I would be lying if I said I’ve completely slowed down. Let’s say I have slowed down to an extent.

However, my body is making sure it “tells” me when I am pushing myself too much. Then I don’t have a choice but to slow down and rest a bit.

For me keeping busy helps with my fatigue, as I said before. My kitchen is my sanctuary and keeps me sane.

The one thing I have learnt though is to say No these days. Far too often I say yes to things because I am that people pleaser but it doesn’t help with my stress levels.

Therefore I am now choosing what I want to do. And what sits well with my soul.

Now for that Red Lentil Dal. This is a dish that cooks in just a few minutes and you will thank me.

How to cook this dish

Firstly, I soaked the red lentils for 30 minutes. It is not necessary but will make a little difference to your cooking time.

I then added some onion, ginger garlic paste and spices and cooked the lentils together with tomatoes and vegetable stock.

It is not common for stock or broth as an ingredient in Indian cooking. However, I have seen a lot of people outside of the Indian culture, cooking this dish using stock.

Stock does add a rich flavour to some dishes and I thought it was a welcome change to my usual way of cooking a dal.

I have also seen recipes with coconut milk and some add cream. I tried to keep mine simple without the creaminess.

A lot of Sri Lankan dishes use coconut in their cooking. If you want to try that version add the coconut milk or cream and you can drizzle some lime juice into the dal too.

Although I used butter ghee for this dish you can use olive oil if you want to keep it healthy.

Lentils are good for you

Did you know lentils are a good source of fibre, magnesium and folate and also helps support a healthy heart.

It also helps maintain a healthy cholesterol level in your body. So go on and eat your red lentils.

You can serve this Red Lentil Dal with rice. roti or naan bread. My family prefers roti.

I usually make another vegetarian dish with this so today it was Palak Paneer

If you do try this recipe please drop me a comment and a star rating. Always love hearing from you.

More Vegetarian Recipes to try:

Bombay Potatoes

Creamy Vegetable Korma

Chilli Paneer

Red Lentil Dal

The most delicious Dal you will make, be sure to have some naan bread to mop it all up
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword dal recipe, indian recipes, red lentil dal
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 cup red lentil
  • 1 tablespoon butter ghee
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 small bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 2 green chillies (optional)
  • 1&1/2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoon kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 small roma tomatoes skin removed and blended
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • salt only if required


  • 1 tablespoon butter ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 small green chillies
  • 3 red dried chillies
  • 2 sprigs curry leaf
  • 3 small cloves garlic


  • Soak the red lentils for 30 minutes.
  • Heat the butter ghee in a pot on medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Once the cumin seeds splutter add the cinnamon and bay leaf and fry for a few seconds
  • Add the chillies and onion and saute until slightly brown. Add the ginger and garlic paste and fry for a minute, until the raw smell disappears
  • Add the turmeric, chilli powder, cumin and coriander. Add a few drops of water if required and fry for a minute
  • Add the blended tomatoes and cook for about 3 minutes
  • Add the lentils and the vegetable stock. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the lentils are tender
  • Make the tadka and add to the dal


  • Heat 1 tablespoon ghee to a pan. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and allow it to splutter
  • Add the chillies, curry leaf and garlic and fry for a minute until the garlic is fragrant
  • Mix into the cooked dal


  1. You can substitute 1 cup of the vegetable stock with coconut milk or coconut cream
  2. The chilli at the beginning of the cooking process is optional, however it does give the dal a nice kick
  3. You can reduce the amount of chillies if you don't like the heat


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