Quick and Easy Red Lentil Dal

This is another one of our go-to favorites. Great for a rainy day or a snowy winter evening by the fire. Serve with some Trader Joe’s Naan (or pita bread) and mango chutney and if you eat dairy, a little Greek yoghurt or crumbled feta cheese add a nice flavor. I also usually make some brown rice to fill out the plate–and be sure to put the salt and pepper on the table for this one as the recipe usually needs a bit more salt after it is served.

This recipe (with a few tiny changes) is straight from the fabulous Mark Bittman. If you don’t know about “the simple chef,” check him out here. Bittman’s recipes are usually made with very few ingredients–all of which are easy to find–and pretty much all of which are super tasty. Corey is a huge fan of his no-knead bread.


Simplest Dal (from Mark Bittman)

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 40 minutes, largely unattended

The most basic dal, the staple dish of India. It’s almost always nicely spiced and becomes creamy if you add butter or oil. Dal is usually eaten hot, but you can also serve it at room temperature or even cold, to spread on toasted wedges of pita.

Other beans you can use: brown lentils, yellow split peas, split mung beans without skins (moong dal).

  • 1 cup dried red lentils, washed and picked over
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (or a teaspoon of ground ginger)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 cloves (or 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • Salt (start with 1 teaspoon and add more once cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter (we use non-dairy butter such as Pure Diary Free Sunflower Spread or Smart Balance Spread)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

1. Combine all the ingredients except the salt, butter or oil, and cilantro in a saucepan, add water to cover by about 1 inch, and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary, until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and keep cooking to the desired tenderness.

2. The lentils should be saucy but not soupy. Remove the cloves and, if you like, the cardamom pods (they’re kind of fun to eat, though). Stir in the butter. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then garnish with cilantro and serve.

FOR EXTRAS: Cook one cup of brown rice or microwave one pack of Trader Joe’s Frozen Brown Rice. Add a dollop of yoghurt or crumble some feta cheese on top and put a spoonful of mango chutney on the side. Heat up the Naan or pita and dig in!



2 thoughts on “Quick and Easy Red Lentil Dal

  1. Hi Hon!!! looks so tasty :-))))) am right now having marinated baby calimaris with seaweed, over raw red cabbage done with ponzu sauce. Mmmmmmm so refreshing

    • Hey Bill, thanks for checking out my blog. You should try the massaged kale salad… it is amazing. Remember when we made a version of it at your place a few years back? Excellent. Hope to catch you and Dana in VT this summer. xxx

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