Red Lentil Dhal

    40 mins

    This is a rich and nutritious vegetarian lentil curry with tomatoes. It's a perfect meal with some rice, raita and pickles or as a part of an Indian feast. You choose!

    991 people made this

    Serves: 6 

    • 200g (2 cups) red lentils
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1 large onion, diced
    • 2 tablespoons Indian curry paste
    • 1 tablespoon curry powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed
    • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
    • 2, 400g cans crushed tomatoes

    Prep:10min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Ready in:40min 

    1. Wash the lentils in cold water until the water runs clear and drain. Put the lentils in a saucepan with water to cover; simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain.
    2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan; fry the onion until golden. Combine the curry paste, curry powder, spices, salt, sugar, garlic and ginger together in a mixing bowl. Mix well and add to the onions then cook over a high heat stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant.
    3. Stir in the tomatoes, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
    4. Add the drained lentils. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the dhal thickens. Serve immediately.

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    Reviews in English (913)


    Very tasty. This recipe will vary in taste and heat according to your curry paste. Notes about lentils: I have never cooked lentils before so I thought I would share some tips for others like me. First off, they are very small so don't try to use a strainer with larger holes (Yes, I know this is obvious). Rinse them well until the water runs clear. Wet lentils stick to everything! Try to get them in the right pot the first time. I found a spatula was good for transferring them. Red lentils cook fast! I boiled mine for 2 mins then simmered for about 8 mins. At that point they were mostly tender. I transferred them into the sauce, mixed well and let them finish cooking. They didn't get too mushy like many people have mentioned.  -  13 Jun 2008  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I have never sent a review for any recipe that I have tried. But, this recipe deserves one! It is excellent. I used fresh tomatoes and then put them into the caramelized onions. I also simmered all the spices together in a little oil, as taught to me by an Indian cook. Then, tossed in the garlic and ginger; continued for about 1 more minute. Afterwards, I put the tomato and onions into the spice mix. Then, added the lentils... AWESOME!  -  11 May 2008  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I can't believe I never reviewed this recipe. I've been making it once a week for a long time now - it's excellent. The ONLY thing I changed with the recipe was to replace the tomato puree with one can of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Chopped Tomatoes. It gives it a much better texture and the fire roasted tomatoes just add another level of flavor that regular tomatoes don't. I can't believe how many people are making this without curry paste. It's the most important ingredient in a curry. I serve it with jasmine rice and hot naan. Oh, and don't be alarmed if the lentils look rather mushy before you add them to the spices and tomatoes. You haven't done anything wrong, and they'll still taste just as good.  -  17 Sep 2006  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)