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Red Lentil Dal Recipe


Red Lentil Dal

Dals are essentially thick stews made with lentils and traditional Indian spices. On my web site, this is one of my most popular recipes. It’s been around the online block a few times and for good reason. It’s easy, delicious, and cheap. Make it once and it will never leave your regular rotation, I promise.


  • 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup dried red lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tomato, chopped, juices reserved*
  • 3 ounces (about 5 tablespoons) tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne, to taste


Add the water to a medium-sized pot and cook the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the turmeric, cumin, paprika, and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes, adding water if necessary to prevent sticking or burning.

Add the lentils, broth, tomato, tomato paste, and coriander, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are cooked and orange-ish. Add the garam masala, stirring to combine, remove from heat, and let rest 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne, to taste.