Indian Dal

The image above is the Indian Dal that I’ve been making for many years. This Dal dish is spiced-up with fresh coriander, ground turmeric and other spices that give Indian food that distinct taste. By the way, did you know that turmeric is very good for your health? You can read about the health benefits of turmeric here.

When you make Dal, as in this recipe, for best results, I recommend that you make it with a simple homemade vegetable broth (see below). However, if you don’t have the time or the ingredients, substituting the broth with water and vegetable bouillon cubes is a good alternative.

You can serve this Dal with warm Naan bread, basmati rice, a green salad and other foods to make it a complete meal. It’s so delicious and good for you!! And, it’s so easy to make – all ingredients go into one big pot. Next week, I will post a recipe for making your own Naan bread. Meanwhile, here’s the recipe for the Dal. Enjoy!

Indian Dal

Serves 6-8

Level: easy


2 cups red lentils *

2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon powdered cumin or cumin seeds

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom or 3 smashed cardamom pods

2-4 garlic cloves, pressed skins discarded

2 tablespoons finely grated ginger root

5 cups natural vegetable stock** or veggie bouillon cubes + water

Option: for a more fluid Dal, you can add more water or bouillon later on

4 ripe whole medium-size tomatoes, diced and with juices

1 teaspoon ground turmeric or 1-2 tbsps finely grated turmeric root

Sea salt and ground peppercorns, to taste

1 hot red pepper, seeds removed and chopped fine

2-4 tablespoons fresh coconut cream (or enough to temper the spices)

2 bunches of fresh chopped coriander


Rinse lentils and drain well. Heat oil in a large pot over medium/high heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, cardamom, garlic, ginger and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add lentils, broth, tomatoes, turmeric, salt, pepper, jalapeno and coconut cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, add chopped coriander, cover and simmer, stirring often, until lentils are soft, about 15 minutes. Adjust broth. I prefer dal on the fluid side, so I usually add more broth. Take off heat and let it sit covered for 15-20 minutes before serving. Spoon into a platter.

* with green or black beluga lentils instead of red, increase cooking time by 10-15 minutes.

** To make vegetable stock, grab whatever basic root vegetables you have and boil them. For example, you can use 2-3 carrots, 1-2 leeks, 3-4 celery sticks, 1-2 onions, 1 white turnips all sliced in chunks. Transfer to a large pot of water, about 3-4 litres or so and boil with cover on until veggies are soft. After, in the same pot, blend everything with a hand held blender until there aren’t any veggie chunks left. You can use the broth immediately or refridgerate for later or divide in 3 separate containers and freeze for future use. So easy and so good in recipes!

Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

6 thoughts on “Indian Dal

  1. Fantastic recipe… Eka and I spent 1 month in India a couple of years ago. I love the food. I miss the dhosas for breakfast – we ate it every morning! (and 2 on the last day).

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