If you love Indian food, you will love the creamy goodness of this red lentil dal recipe. It’s a simple soup featuring hearty red lentils, tomatoes, and aromatic spices.
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Easy Dal Recipe
There’s something magical about a pot of stew simmering on the stove. The aroma of spices like cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon give this Indian recipe scream warmth and comfort. If you’re craving bowl of comfort food that screams love in every bite, this dal is your answer.
The beauty of this dish isn’t just in its rich flavors; it’s also in its simplicity. It’s made with just a few pantry staples and is a wonderful nutritious, hearty meal that’s perfect for those chilly evenings or lazy weekend lunches.
What is Dal?
Similar to a lentil soup, Dal, also referred to as dahl or daal, is a savory stew and popular Indian cuisine made with lentils, veggies and common Indian spices. It is a popular, comforting staple in South Asian countries and has quickly become a beloved dish worldwide.
There are a few varieties based on the color lentils you use. Masoor Dal is made with red or brown lentils. Moong Dal is made with split yellow lentils and toor dal is made with yellow split peas.
- Olive Oil – for sautéing the onion. Use butter, vegetable oil or coconut oil if you’d like.
- Onion – I used a yellow onion but you can also use a white onion as well.
- Curry Powder & Other Spices – These are what make the dal flavorful and aromatic. Each spice brings its unique profile, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
- Red Lentils – The star of the show, red lentils are not only delicious but packed with protein and fiber. They break down beautifully and creamy when cooked.
- Diced Tomato – I finely diced a whole tomato but you can also use a can of petite diced tomatoes in the juice.
- Vegetable broth – I like using low sodium broth.
- Red Pepper Flakes – optional addition of heat. You can also use a dash of cayenne pepper or green chilies.
1. If you don’t have red lentils, green, brown or yellow lentils can be used. Some lentils may require a little longer cooking time.
2. Fresh ginger can be swapped out for ginger paste that can be found in the produce department.
2. Stir in ½ cup of coconut milk at the end.
4. Swap out the vegetable broth for chicken broth or even just cups of water if you prefer.
How to Make Dal:
Step 1 – In a large pot, add the oil and heat on medium heat.
Step 2 – Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 5 minutes until translucent. Then add in the minced garlic and ginger and saute for an additional minute until fragrant.
Step 3 – Then add in the curry, tumeric, cumin and cinnamon.
Step 4 – Add in the tomato and the lentils and stir until combined well.
Step 5 – Last, add in the broth and bring to a boil then lower the heat to simmer and cook uncovered, stir occasionally, for about 20-30 minutes until lentils get soft and thick. Add an additional ½-1 cup of broth if it is too thick.
- Be sure to rinse the lentils before using them.
- Add in fresh curry leaves.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro or lime juice or lemon juice for added flavor.
Store the cooled dal in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When reheating, add a splash of water to retain the creamy consistency.
Absolutely! Just may sure it’s cooled before freezing in a freezer safe container and consume within a 2 month.
Let it simmer uncovered for a little longer to allow the excess water to evaporate and the dal to thicken up.
- 1 ½ cups red lentils washed and drained
- 1-2 tbsp. olive oil butter or coconut oil
- 1 large onion finely diced (I use my handy food chopper)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger powder or fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large tomato finely diced
- 4-5 cups vegetable broth
- pepper to taste
- ¼ tsp. dried red chilli flakes optional
- In a large pot, add the oil and heat on medium heat.
- Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 5 minutes until translucent.
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 1 minute.
- Add all the spices- curry, cumin, turmeric, , cinnamon and red chilli flakes (if using) and mix in well.
- Add the tomato and the lentils and stir until combined well.
- Last, add in the broth and bring to a boil then lower the heat to simmer and cook uncovered, stir occasionally, for about 20-30 minutes until lentils get soft and thick.
- Add a little extra water if needed.
Nutritional facts are estimates and are provided as a courtesy to the reader. Please utilize your own brand nutritional values to double check against our estimates. Nutritional values are calculated via a third party. Changing ingredients, amounts or cooking technique will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.
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