Red Lentil Dhal

Red Lentil Dhal

Easy, creamy and comforting red lentils cooked in fragrant spices. Cheap and super quick to make, using cheap store-cupboard ingredients this dhal will fill you up and give you a huge protein hit. Serve it with rice or couscous – but if you’re really hungry whizz up a pan of super simple Chana Masala and cook up a batch of naan or roti.

I have made this regularly since returning from Sri-Lanka many years ago where a very kind Sinhalese chef gave me the recipe. It freezes well and you can easily double-up on the quantities … oh, and did I mention that it’s REALLY good for you!

Enjoy x

Red Lentil Dhal Cook Vegan Cook

Red Lentil Dhal

Easy, creamy and comforting red lentils cooked in fragrant spices. This dish will take minutes to prepare if you have all of your spices sorted and to hand. You'll want to make this again and again … and again …
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 2 oil I use olive oil but use what your preference
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated OR 1/4 - 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 cloves garlic OR 1/4 - 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed use a pestal and mortar / or powdered will do
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder OR to taste
  • 225 grams red lentils OR 1 cup WASHED UNDER COLD RUNNING WATER!
  • 750 ml water OR 3 cups
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh corriander leaves chopped finely


  • 1. Heat the oil in a pan and cook the chopped onion over a low heat until it starts to soften. Keep an eye on it - it'll take approx. 4-5 minutes
  • 2. Add the garlic, ginger and coriander seeds/or powder, turmeric and red chili powder. Give it a good stir and cook for 4-5 minutes longer over the low heat
  • 3. Add the washed lentils (you need to wash them until the water runs clear - you do not want to be eating all that dust!) Stir and cook for a further 2-3 minutes
  • 4. Add the water, turn the heat up and bring to the boil, add the salt and then simmer for 15 minutes.
  • 5. When the lentils are soft - the mixture should look a little soupy but if it isn't don't worry, just pour in a little more water to get it to the consistency that you like. Stir in the fresh, chopped coriander leaves and take the pan off the heat. Serve and enjoy!


Have this dish as thick or as runny as you like - it's your choice. I've made it with and without fresh, chopped coriander on the top - if you haven't got any then just leave it out - it'll still taste delicious!


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