Lentil dal.

Lentil dal

Fragrant, spicy, healthy and totally inexpensive lentil dal is so good, and so easy to make.
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Course: Soups and stews
Cuisine: Vegan
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Servings: 2 litres or 6 serves
Author: Quite Good Food


  • 2 tbsp oil of your choice, I used coconut
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup moong dal, split mung beans
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes, drained of excess liquid
  • 2 cups chopped or baby spinach, approximate


  • Heat oil in a deep saucepan. Add onions, garlic and ginger and cook until beginning to soften.
  • Add remaining spices and stir until fragrant.
  • Add lentils, moong dal and 8 cups of water to begin with. Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. The lentils and moong dal soak up a lot of water as they cook, so keep an eye on the pot every 10 minutes or so and add extra water if needed. I used 10 cups in the end.
  • Once cooked the lentils will have virtually disappeared and the moong dal will be soft but have some remaining texture. The consistency can be quite soupy, or a bit thicker if you want to serve it on rice (just add a bit less water).
  • I then go through a tedious/meditative process of stirring through and picking out the cardamom pods and cloves so that no one bites into one, which you can enjoy doing too - or just relax and wait until one pops up in your spoon later.
  • Add salt, chopped tomatoes and spinach. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Garnish with extra chilli flakes or chopped fresh chilli, coriander and a wedge of lemon or lime for squeezing, if you like.
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