I have cooked this simple recipe for a thousand years…it is from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery book. Not only is it the nicest dal recipe I’ve ever tried, it’s my friend Sophie’s fave recipe for dal too. Its thick creamy and tasty, and lentils are fantastic for your digestion, stabilising blood sugar levels and lowering cholesterol amongst many other things.


Serves 2 for a main, 4 for a side.

7 oz (200g) red split lentils
1 litre of water
2 thin slices of unpeeled ginger
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
3 tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil
A pinch of ground asafetida (optional)
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Finely chopped fresh coriander


Put the lentils in a heavy pot (that has a lid) with the water, ginger and turmeric. Stir. Simmer gently for about 60 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
Stir for the last half hour every five minutes to prevent sticking.
Add the salt and remove the ginger slices.
Heat the oil in a small pan and add the asafetida then the cumin seeds.
Let them sizzle for a few seconds then add the rest of the spices. Stir once and pour over the lentils.
Mix with a spoon and serve sprinkled with the fresh coriander. Perfect with chapatis and basmati rice.

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