This traditional dahl recipe is made with red lentils, which is easy because you don’t have to soak them or cook them for only 20 minutes. Red lentil dahl is very nourishing, easy to digest and always feel like wonderful comfort food to me.
My secret ingredient in this recipe is fresh grated turmeric instead of that dried powdered stuff. It really brings the dish alive, gives it lots of prana (=energy / life force) and you get lots of prana when eating it J. You should be able to find fresh turmeric in most organic grocery stores. Organic fresh ginger also had a lot more flavor and spiciness than non-organic ginger.
This recipe serves about 3 people but is great as leftovers as well so keep that in mind.
With 2,5 cups of water, this dahl will be more solid and is great served with rice and some freshly steamed or sautéed veggies. When adding 3 cups of water, this dahl will be more like a soup.
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or other oil will also do)
- 1 cup red lentils
- ½ tbsp mustard seeds (yellow or brown)
- ½ tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2,5 – 3 cups of water
- 1 inch (2 cm) of fresh ginger
- 1 inch of fresh turmeric
- pinch of cayenne
- 1 tomato
- salt, soy sauce or tamari to taste
- lemon or vinaiger (optional)
- Rinse the red lentils (preferably 3 times)
- Heat the oil in a pot
- Add the mustard and cumin seeds; when the mustard seeds pop, add the ground cumin and ground coriander and fry for a little longer until the spices smell nicely
- Add the rinsed lentils and stir; then add 2 cups of water. I always prefer to start with 2 cups and add more later when you see it needs it.
- Add the grated ginger and grated turmeric and a pinch of cayenne (always be mindful of cayenne cause it’s so powerful!)
- Let the dahl cook for about 20 minutes, checking and stirring regularly. After 5 – 10 minutes add another ½ or 1 cup of water.
- After 15 minutes add the tomato chopped in small pieces and cook for the last 5 minutes.
- When the lentils have dissolved into a fairly smooth consistency, the dahl is ready! Add salt, soy sauce or tamari to taste.
When tasting a dish like this, I recommend looking for the 4 flavors of salt, sweet, spicy and tangy (sour). When these 4 flavors are balanced, you’re going to have a great dish. In this recipe the tomato adds some tanginess/ sourness but it might not be enough and you might need to add a little lemon juice or vinaiger. The red lentils with the spices should be sweet enough but I’ve even added a little bit of agave syrup before to bring out the sweetness.
This is the fun and creative part of cooking, finding the balance between the flavors, getting it juuuust right and creating something amazing.
In this picture the dahl is served with some Jasmine white rice and bok choy lightly sautéed in sesame oil with a little tamari. YUM!