Red Lentil Dhal, Darling in 30 minutes

I’ve never made any dhal apart from this one but I amn’t even bothered looking up another recipe because it is so remarkably good. And, it is so forgiving because if you decide to make it at 8pm on a random night, like tonight, and realise you don’t have some of the ingredients – who cares! It still tastes great! Barely any washing as it all done, almost, in one pot (with just a frying pan too).

If you plan on having it for lunch the next day, make sure to dish out ‘leftovers’ in advance, because guaranteed, there won’t be any such leftovers if you don’t. Or, perhaps I am just a bit of a savage.

PS – Don’t be put off by what looks like a long recipe – it is very straightforward & only takes 30 mins start to finish. No chopping required, just some stirring.

PPS – Credit to Donal Skehan for this one. I have made some notes of variations I made to the recipe, and it still tasted a1. However, if you can get yourself organised, I obviously recommend you go with the full proper recipe for proper explosion of tastebuds.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS to serve 3-4 people

  • 300g red lentils
  • 1 generous tsp freshly grated ginger
  • A handful of coriander, stalks finely chopped, and leaves roughly chopped (omit if you are a hater)
  • 300ml coconut milk  (I used 400ml because that is what is in a tin!)
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

Spice Mix in Oil (aka, the tarka)

  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil   (I used rapeseed )
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric   (Go heaped with each spice measurement.)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped   (I used chilli flakes)
  • 8 curry leaves (fresh or dried)    (Can’t believe I had these!! –  not essential.)

Stir in at the end

  • 100g baby spinach leaves  (Any spinach is fine! Spinach doesn’t add flavour, just goodness so don’t worry if you don’t have to hand.)
  • juice of 1 lemon  (Not essential, but cuts the heat a little.)



Put the lentils into a heavy-based pan, with the ginger, the coriander stalks and a teaspoon of salt then pour over the coconut milk and 500ml of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, adding the tomatoes after 10 minutes. After 30 minutes the lentils will have broken down and will be thick and creamy. Then whisk until the mixture becomes smooth. If it is too thick then you can add a little more water. Leave to simmer gently while you get the spice mixture ready.

Heat the oil in a small heavy-based frying pan. Add the turmeric, cumin, ground coriander, mustard seeds, red chilli and curry leaves. Leave them to temper. The oil should be bubbling and the seeds popping. This will take about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir straight into the lentils reserving 1 tablespoon. Be careful, as the mixture may spit a little. Whisk until well combined and then stir in the baby spinach, lemon juice and spring onions.

Simples! You will see from the pic I threw in some boiled new potatoes.

3 thoughts on “Red Lentil Dhal, Darling in 30 minutes

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