Spicy Dal

BakerMonkey, Food & Drink, General, Reckons


  • 1 & 1/4 cups red lentils. (Brown lentils are a fine substitute, or yellow split peas if you must, but green lentils won’t soften properly.)
  • 3 & 1/3 cups water.
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp salt.
  • 3 tbs butter.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric.
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne.
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger.
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds.
  • 6 whole cloves.



Rinse the lentils well in cold water. Drain and repeat once or twice. The first time through you’ll note that the water gets quite milky, you want to wash them until the water is fairly clear.


Add to pot with 3 & 1/3rd cups water and the salt.


Boil until very soft, the water will be mostly or entirely absorbed.


Once the lentils are bubbling away and well on their way to cooking down, melt the butter in a separate pan.


Add the spices. Your house will start to smell reallllllly good. (Don’t be mad, I’m not saying it doesn’t now, just that it’ll get even better.)


Once the lentils are all cooked down (note how much the colour of the red lentils has changed), carefully add them to the spices & butter.


Mix the butter & spices well with the lentils.


Cook until very thick, stirring frequently.

Serve with rice (I suggest basmati) and a big dollop of yoghurt. This dal can be a bit hot for some people, the yoghurt goes a long way to defusing that – and it’s really delicious, so why wouldn’t you?

I find it a very warming, comforting dish. Particularly great on cold winter nights.

3 thoughts on “Spicy Dal

  1. If you don’t like “red lentils”, maybe I could interest you in some puy dal?.. Though it’s the same thing. 🙂

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