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dahl recipe

Photo: Courtesy Simon Majumdar 

Life Saving Dahl Recipe

A soup-like red lentil dahl based on my family's recipe, it is one of the most satisfying dishes you will ever eat. And, our family tradition is to suck on the lemons, which we cook with the lentils and spices. If you have read my book 'Eat My Globe', you will know that this is the recipe that saved my life.

07 May, 2021
Average: 4 (13 votes)

Type of dish


Dietary Consideration

serves for


total time

0 HR 30 MIN


Red lentils
1 ½ cup (toasted first in a dry pan. I use my fingers to stir and when it is too hot to touch, it is done)
1 unwaxed, washed and chopped
½ large, diced
3 cloves
1 inch, fresh
4 pods
Cinnamon sticks
Green chiles
1 de-seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp
Ginger powder
1 tsp
Cumin powder
1 tsp
Coriander powder
1 tsp
Red chili powder
1 tsp
Kosher salt
1 tsp
Cane sugar
1 tsp
Vegetable stock
3 cups
Spinach leaves
1 bag, washed
2, harboiled
Vegetable oil
3 tbsp

To Prepare

Step 01

Make a puree of the ginger and garlic. Dry toast the lentils over low heat until they begin to take on a nutty aroma. Remove the lentils from the pan and set aside.

Step 02

Put the oil into a pan over medium heat. Add the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon stick. Cook for 1 minute on a low heat until they release their flavour. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt, and cook until it begins to soften. Add the chili. Cook for 2 minutes.

Step 03

Add the ginger/garlic paste. Cook for 2 minutes.Add the ground spices and sugar. Mix well with and cook for 2-3 minutes until the spices lose their rawness. If the mixture begins to stick add a little water.

Step 04

Return the toasted lentils to the pan and mix well so all the pulses are covered with the mixture. Add the stock/water and the lemons. Simmer for around 20 minutes until the lentils have broken down. Add more water if it sticks. Some lentils may take a little longer.

Step 05

Whisk the lentils gently to create more of a soupy texture. Add the spinach, cover and allow to wilt. The end result is quite a watery Dahl which is great served over a hard-boiled egg.

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