Red lentil dahl is one of those hearty, warming, comforting meals that I make regularly and there’s usually a few portions of it in the freezer. The beauty of this recipe is in its simplicity. At the very least all you need is lentils, stock, tomatoes, an onion, some curry powder and one saucepan. It cooks in 20 minutes so it’s perfect for those evenings when you’re in a rush or can’t be bothered with fussing over a more complex meal.
I found the basic recipe for red lentil dahl years ago in a Patrick Holford book. It was as simple as adding all of the ingredients above to a pot and simmering for 20 mins. Over time I’ve thrown other veg and spices into this – but this combination is my favourite. I always have the ingredients for this in my cupboard so it’s also perfect for that day before you do your grocery shopping.
Dahl which can also be spelled Dal, Dhal or Daal, is a simple Indian lentil soup or stew, usually made with ghee or clarified butter. Here though it’s made with a touch of olive oil, far more likely to be available in your cupboard 😉
Ingredients for Red Lentil Dahl
1 Onion, diced
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Red Chilli, chopped (Garlic works well too, use 2 cloves)
1 Small Sweet Potato, diced
1 Cup Red Split Lentils
4 Cups of Vegetable Stock
1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes
2 Handfuls of Baby Leaf Spinach
Yoghurt to Serve
For the Spice
You can use 2 Tablespoons of Medium to Hot Curry Powder or the following:
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Turmeric
1 Teaspoon Garam Masala
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Teaspoon Coriander
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin seeds
1. In a large saucepan, sauté the onion and chilli/garlic.
2. Add your diced sweet potato, tinned tomatoes, stock and lentils.
A Note: Prepare the lentils by cleaning them well in a sieve under running water before adding them to the saucepan.
3. Cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add your spice at this point, either curry powder or the spice blend above, stir well.
5. Leave to simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until the Dahl has thickened and the sweet potato is soft.
6. Take the Dahl off the heat and add the spinach, stir it in so that it wilts.
7. Serve in warm bowls with a dollop of yoghurt, some chopped coriander, a Naan or some rice.