Red Lentil Dhal | Hari Ghotra
4.0/5 rating (52 votes)

Red Lentil Dhal

Masoor di Dhal

  • Heat Medium
  • Serves 4
  • Dietary Info VEGETARIAN VEGAN LACTOSE-FREE HEALTHY LOW-CALORIES
  • Prep 10 mins
  • Cook 20 mins
Red Lentil Dhal

A beautiful lentil dhal flavoured with a spicy tomato masala.

Hari says

This is my chicken soup when I'm feeling under the weather, my staple when I don't know what else to cook, my cuddle blanket when I'm feeling sorry for myself and my tonic when I've indulged a little too much the night before. It's a poor man's main dish and a king's side dish – it's the simple, humble masoor di dhal.

It forms a huge part of so many Indians' diets because it's cheap and is a great source of protein for the vast number of vegetarians. As children we didn't know the names of all the different lentils so we would call this yellow dhal (even though it's made with red lentils) and that's what my children call it too.

Cooked with whole cumin seeds in a tomato based masala finished with crispy onions and fresh coriander.

  • Ingredients
  • Method

Lentils

  • 200g red lentils, washed
  • 900ml water (approx.)
  • 1 tsp of salt

Masala

  • 1 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp of garam masala

Garnish

  • 1 or 2 whole chillies
  • Handful of coriander, chopped
  1. Place lentils in a pan with the salt, cover with the water and bring to the boil.
  2. Remove the froth, reduce the heat and put the lid on the pan – leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Check the lentils are cooked by squeezing them between your fingers. Once soft remove from the heat.
  3. In a frying pan heat the oil or butter. Using a fork pierce the whole chillies and add to the pan with a bay leaf and the cumin seeds.
  4. When the seeds sizzle, remove the chilli and set to one side for your garnish.
  5. Add the onion and garlic and fry until lightly browned. Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes, ginger, turmeric, fenugreek and the chopped chilli. Gently let the ingredients cook down for about 10 minutes to make a thick masala paste.
  6. Add a ladle full of the lentils (dhal) to the masala paste in the frying pan and stir together, then empty all the contents back into the pan with the lentils and stir. It should have the consistency of a thick soup but if it's too thick just add a little boiling water and remove from the heat. If you prefer it thicker just leave it on the heat to reduce until you get the consistency you want.
  7. Check the seasoning and add a little salt if required. Stir in the garam masala, coriander and top with the whole chillies to serve.

Served with

I always serve this as a side at all my Indian dinner parties, because it's quick and easy, looks incredibly vibrant and tastes wonderful. It goes well with many main dishes but my personal favourite is as a side with chicken biryani. I also like to serve this as flavoursome soup for a quick lunch with some roti or crusty buttered bread to dip.

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Nutritional information

Typical values* per Serving
Calories78
Fat (g)3.3
of which saturates (g)1.9
Carbohydrates (g)9.4
of which sugars (g)2.3
Fibre (g)1.3
Protein (g)3.7
Salt (mg)1.3
*Based upon calculated values, supplied by myfitnesspal.com. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated.

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Comments

Comments (26)

  • Liz

    Liz

    14 November 2016 at 19:54 |
    I tried this dhal, first time ever I have cooked dhal, and it's super delicious!! will make it more often now! I love your website!

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      15 November 2016 at 09:15 |
      Hi Liz thanks so much for trying this recipe - so glad to hear that you enjoyed it. It's really great to know that you are loving the website too. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Let me know if you try anything else. Thanks Hari

      reply

  • Gareth Foreman

    Gareth Foreman

    08 November 2016 at 12:21 |
    Hi Hari
    have literally just finished making this for the first time. Not only does it taste fantastic but my flat smells wonderful as well which is a great added bonus!
    Looking forward to trying more of your recipes. Thank's Hari.

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      09 November 2016 at 17:35 |
      Hi Garath That's so lovely to hear and makes me really happy - glad you enjoyed it and do let me know what else you tried. Thanks Hari

      reply

  • Samantha

    Samantha

    30 October 2016 at 13:31 |
    Hi. I've never cooked a Dahl before and i know it's stupid but what do I serve it with, rice, breads etc? Apologies for my ignorance.

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      31 October 2016 at 08:48 |
      Hi Samantha Thanks for your question. Dhal is fantastic with rice and naan bread but sometimes I love it with some bread and butter too so it's totally up to you. Serve it with whatever you like! Let me know how you get on. Thanks Hari

      reply

  • daniel n

    daniel n

    13 October 2016 at 15:24 |
    what a great dish. very much recommended. i have tried quite a few dhal recipes, and non came as good, or even to be as good. thank you@

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      21 October 2016 at 14:53 |
      Hi Daniel thats amazing - I love this dhal and i'm glad to hear that you are a fan now too. Thanks so much for leaving a comment Hari

      reply

  • Greg

    Greg

    10 May 2016 at 03:54 |
    What a wonderful dish! I have been making it regularly for the past couple of months and I just love it. This is definitely one of the quicker and easier recipes for good dal that I have found. It goes great as a side with other dishes, but I eat it just as much as a meal in itself. It is really satisfying, and I can see why this is your comfort food.

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      10 May 2016 at 07:43 |
      Hi Greg That is so wonderful to hear - glad you are loving this as much as I do!

      reply

  • Sarah

    Sarah

    11 April 2016 at 08:36 |
    We have a 2 year old son who is currently going through a stage of being very picky over what he eats, every mealtime is a struggle. He enjoys pasta dishes, and mild curries - so we thought we would try him on some of your recipes. All we can say is thank you, Hari, he has, to date, with a tiny bit of tinkering with spices etc, enjoyed just about everyone of your recipes.

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      12 April 2016 at 07:41 |
      Hi Sarah
      That's amazing - thank you so much for letting me know. It makes me really happy to hear comments like this where the recipes have really helped. I hope your little boy continues to enjoy the dishes. Thanks so much for using the site too. Hari

      reply

  • Alan

    Alan

    04 February 2016 at 22:29 |
    I love this lentil dhal recipe and the fenugreek really added a lot of depth of flavour. For anyone struggling to find it, I got a large box of dried fenugreek leaves from the international foods aisle in Tesco for only 70p. It might not be in all Tescos but worth a look. This recipe goes great with naan bread, just throw one in the oven while your lentils are going. Yum!

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      04 February 2016 at 23:08 |
      Hi Alan Thanks so much for your comments, totally agree you do need a little dried fenugreek (the herb which we call kasoori methi not the spice) to get the dhal just right. I love to hear what you think of the dishes so thanks for sharing. Let me know which other recipes you try. Chat soon Hari

      reply

  • danielle

    danielle

    10 January 2016 at 14:14 |
    Thank you for this recipe. I've been trying to find a vegan dish perfect for chilly days and this was perfect.

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      12 January 2016 at 16:40 |
      Hi Danielle so happy that you enjoyed it - this is my go to comfort dish! let me know if you try anything else. Thanks for lraving a comment Hari

      reply

  • Hari Ghotra

    Hari Ghotra

    28 July 2015 at 21:01 |
    Hi Karen Yes you certainly can use tinned ones (although these lentils cook really quickly anyway) 200g tin of the lentils will be fine for this. Thanks Hari

    reply

  • Karen

    Karen

    28 July 2015 at 15:10 |
    I know it is a cheat but can you use tinned lentils (I have some to use up!). If so, what quantity works in this recipe?

    reply

  • Nigel

    Nigel

    28 July 2015 at 14:23 |
    Hello Hari,

    I cooked this last night - delicious. Thank you for another excellent recipe.

    reply

  • Aaron

    Aaron

    01 March 2015 at 16:44 |
    Hi Hari,

    I made this Dhal the other night along with another round of your Vegetable Pakora's. I was able to find Fenugreek leaves (I bought a big bag of them so I'll have plenty for quite some time) and that definitely makes a difference. They have that same earthiness without the bitter bite of the seeds. Love the recipes and can't wait to try more and more!!

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    21 February 2015 at 09:29 |
    Hi Kat
    You can find fenugreek in 4 forms. The dried seeds or the crushed powder - this is very strong in flavour and only used in specific dishes. The fresh leaf or the dried leaf - which have a earthy, milder, slightly bitter flavour. For this dish you need the dried fenugreek leaf. This is found in all Indian grocery shops and it's called Kasoori Methi. If you can't find it let me know I will pop some in the post to you. Thanks Hari

    reply

  • Kat

    Kat

    20 February 2015 at 22:11 |
    Where can I find Fenugreek? Or is there a more common substitute ingredient that I could find more easily.
    Thank you

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    16 December 2014 at 09:17 |
    Hi Daisy It's wonderful to hear that yo are enjoying my recipes in San Francisco (one of my favourite places in the world). It's just a short vid for this recipe that all. Hope you have been cooking along.

    reply

  • Daisy

    Daisy

    10 December 2014 at 04:52 |
    Just wondered why there is only a little more than 4 min of you tube footage for this video.

    By the way, truly enjoy your you tube channel.

    Thanks and love from San Francisco, usa

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    18 November 2014 at 20:42 |
    Definitely! I love to have this when I'm feeling a bit cold and miserable its a real treat and easy to make too. So glad you are enjoying this recipe.

    reply

  • Kevin Lewis

    Kevin Lewis

    18 November 2014 at 17:01 |
    Winter is coming and one pot meals are a must when I want something quick. While this uses two pans it comes together as a one pot meal. I find it better second day when the flavours seem to have matured. Afraid to say I have also added chickpeas to this when feeling really hungry and wanting a little something more than just dhal.

    reply

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Hari Ghotra