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Red Lentil Dal

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

I had a phase where I was fascinated with all different types of lentils and I had a small jar of red lentils from stashed in the cupboard for ages. I love Indian food but always hesitate because it's not a cuisine I am super comfortable cooking (yet!).


  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed

  • 3 cups room temperature water

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick

  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds

  • 1 tsp whole green cardamom

  • 1 diced yellow onion

  • 2 green chilli pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced (serrano for spicy, jalapeno for more mild)

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger root

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 medium tomato, diced

  • 1/2 lemon, juice

  • Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish


  1. Place the rinsed lentils in a medium saucepan along with 3 cups of room temperature water. Turn the heat to medium and allow the lentils to cook for 20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cinnamon stick, cardamom and mustard seeds; cook for 60 to 90 seconds, until fragrant.

  3. Add the onion, green chilli pepper, garlic, and ginger; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onions are turning translucent.

  4. Add the turmeric, paprika, salt, and tomato to the pan. Cook until the tomato begins to fall apart, about 2 to 3 minutes

  5. Once the lentils are cooked, drain off any excess water. Stir the spiced onion mixture into the pot of lentils. Add the lemon juice and stir well. Taste and add salt as needed.

  6. ​Garnish with cilantro.

Based on recipe from -


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