This Easy Indian Red Lentil Dahl recipe is a must-try if you’re looking for a flavorful curry, soup, or stew dish, that’s vegan and protein-rich. It’s delicious, healthy and one of the best lentil dishes to warm you up in winter or for cold weather.
You can’t go wrong with this Indian Lentil Dahl, it’s pretty easy to make and you can make various variations to fit your taste. This dish is also rich in micro- and macronutrients like carbohydrates and protein, so it nourishes your body perfectly. The ingredients are inexpensive and very simple. Let’s get started!
What is Lentil Dahl
If India has a staple dish, it has to be Dahl (also spelled Daal, Dhal, or Dal). Whether you’re rich or poor, everybody eats this dish. While “Dahl” is a term used for dried, split pulses or legumes such as lentils, dried peas, and beans, it is also the of the dish itself – A flavorful curry or rather soup that is more similar to a thick stew. And though lentil dishes have been around for a long time in India, the history of daal dates far way back in a period in which lentils were probably a staple food all over South Asian countries.
Lentil Dahl Recipe Variations
From ingredients to flavors, you can practically add your own twist to this recipe. While soft-boiled lentils give a wonderfully creamy, thick, soup-like consistency, many traditional Dahl recipes are also prepared with other split pulses such as beans, chickpeas, or peas. However, there are now a variety of newer recipe variations that include other spices, additional vegetables, and even meat or meat alternatives.
Here are some of the most popular dal variations you could prepare this recipe with:
- Chana Daal – are chickpeas that are cleaned, hulled, and split after harvesting. It’s a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic and Indian cuisine.
- Urad Daal – or known as the “black gram” is a staple ingredient in East Indian recipes. It has high protein content and the primary ingredient in south Indian dosa and idli.
- Panchratna Daal – means “five jewels” in Hindi/Urdu. Five varieties of daal are combined creating a distinct flavor.
- Masoor Daal – is characterized by its red color, these are split red lentils that cook fast and don’t require pre-soaking. This is also what we use in today’s recipe.
Now if you’re interested in trying out another dahl recipe, you would love my Yellow Lentil Dal! This Indian Lentil soup like today’s recipe is healthy and perfect for cold weather.
How to make Indian Red Lentil Dahl
Craving for something healthy yet filling recipe? Let’s start making this lentil dahl!
First, in a skillet or saucepan, heat the coconut oil. Toss the chopped onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes until translucent. After that, add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute until fragrant. Lastly, add your spices and sauté for a few seconds to bring out the flavors.
Rinse the lentils under cold running water in a fine-mashed sieve. Then toss them in the skillet with the onion mixture. Pour in the vegetable broth and stir, bring to a simmer. For 8-10 minutes, cook covered until the water is almost absorbed by the lentils. Add the coconut milk and strained tomatoes (if using), simmer for another 5-10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. (Tip: If the sauce is too thick or if you’d like to serve this Indian lentil dish as a soup, add a more broth or coconut milk until your desired consistency is reached.)