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Indian Red Lentil Dal

 This Red Lentil Dal recipe makes the perfect plant-based Indian meal! Rich, fragrant, and packed with protein for a meal you can feel good about.

Red Lentil Dal: It's amazing what a few fragrant ingredient and spices can do to a pot of lentils! Serve with plenty of naan bread and basmati rice for the perfect Indian dal meal.

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Guys, we made it. This red lentil dal is the sixth Indian recipe in a row I’ve shared here on the blog.

If you’re like me, you’ve been loving these recipes and hopefully adding them into your upcoming meal plans.

Indian Red Lentil Dal Recipe

However, if you’re not a fan of Indian food (howwww???), please accept my apologies for the recent bombardment of deliciously spiced dishes and know that we will soon return to regular (aka, varied) programming.

It's amazing what a few fragrant ingredient and spices can do to a pot of lentils! Serve with plenty of naan bread and basmati rice for the perfect Indian meal.

Okay, now about this recipe.

There are many ways to spell dal and so I’m fine if you use any of these varieties: red lentil dal recipe, red lentil dhal recipe, red lentil daal recipe, or red lentil dahl recipe.

Dal (however you want to spell it) is one of my very favorite Indian dishes because of how quickly it is made.

A red lentil dal cooks really fast, so this whole red lentil recipe is done in 30 minutes start-to-finish.

quick-red-lentil-dal-dahl

Red lentils look more orange than red after the cook, especially with the addition of turmeric.

I use Bob’s Red Mill Red Lentils which are grown in the Pacific Northwest.

There are a few different ways that people make dal, but my favorite way to is temper the spices and aromatics in oil.

I used to make my red lentil dal by just chucking everything in the same pot, and while it’s still tasty that way, it doesn’t come close to flavor of the tempered version.

Red Lentil Dal: It's amazing what a few fragrant ingredient and spices can do to a pot of lentils! Serve with plenty of naan bread and basmati rice for the perfect Indian meal.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry. Just read on.

Basically, all you have to do is put some lentils and water in a pot, then fry the rest of the ingredients in oil while the lentils cook.

The hot oil helps release all of the wonderful fragrance and flavor from the garlic, ginger, and spices (tempering!).

The tempered oil and aromatics are then added to the lentils at the last minute (along with some lemon juice) so the flavor stays bright and fresh.

Indian Red Lentil Dal: It's amazing what a few fragrant ingredient and spices can do to a pot of lentils! Serve with plenty of naan bread and basmati rice for the perfect Indian meal.

How to Make Dahl

Here is the process to make this Indian Red Lentil Dahl. For the exact amount of each ingredient, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

First, assemble this group of wonderfully colorful ingredients.

How to Make Dal.  This Red Lentil Dal recipe makes the perfect plant-based Indian meal! Rich, fragrant, and packed with protein for a meal you can feel good about.

Place the rinsed lentils in a large saucepan along with 3 cups of room temperature water. Turn the heat to medium and allow the lentils to cook for 20 minutes.

How to Make Daal.  This Red Lentil Daal recipe makes the perfect plant-based Indian meal! Rich, fragrant, and packed with protein for a meal you can feel good about.Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cinnamon stick; cook for 60 to 90 seconds, until fragrant.

How to Make Dhal.  This Red Lentil Dhal recipe makes the perfect plant-based Indian meal! Rich, fragrant, and packed with protein for a meal you can feel good about.Add the onion, green chili pepper, garlic, and ginger; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onions are turning translucent.

How to Make Dahl.  This Red Lentil Dahl recipe makes the perfect plant-based Indian meal! Rich, fragrant, and packed with protein for a meal you can feel good about.
Add the turmeric, cardamom, paprika, salt, and tomato to the pan.

How to Make Dal.  This Red Lentil Dal recipe makes the perfect plant-based Indian meal! Rich, fragrant, and packed with protein for a meal you can feel good about.

Cook until the tomato begins to fall apart, about 2 to 3 minutes.

How to Make Dal.  This Red Lentil Dal recipe makes the perfect plant-based Indian meal! Rich, fragrant, and packed with protein for a meal you can feel good about.

Discard the cinnamon stick.

How to Make Dal.  This Red Lentil Dal recipe makes the perfect plant-based Indian meal! Rich, fragrant, and packed with protein for a meal you can feel good about.
Once the lentils are cooked, drain off any excess water that is on top of the lentils, but do not drain off all the water.

How to Make Daal.  This Red Lentil Daal recipe makes the perfect plant-based Indian meal! Rich, fragrant, and packed with protein for a meal you can feel good about.

Stir the spiced onion mixture into the pot of lentils.

How to Make Dhal.  This Red Lentil Dhal recipe makes the perfect plant-based Indian meal! Rich, fragrant, and packed with protein for a meal you can feel good about.

Add the lemon juice and stir well.

How to Make Dahl.  This Red Lentil Dahl recipe makes the perfect plant-based Indian meal! Rich, fragrant, and packed with protein for a meal you can feel good about.

Taste and add salt as needed. If it is too dry, then add some water. If it is too wet, then cook on low until it thickens to your liking.

How to Make Dal.  This Red Lentil Dal recipe makes the perfect plant-based Indian meal! Rich, fragrant, and packed with protein for a meal you can feel good about.
Garnish with cilantro.

How to Make Dal.  This Red Lentil Dal recipe makes the perfect plant-based Indian meal! Rich, fragrant, and packed with protein for a meal you can feel good about.

Serve with basmati rice and naan.

This Red Lentil Dal recipe makes the perfect plant-based Indian meal! Rich, fragrant, and packed with protein for a meal you can feel good about.

If you have any leftovers, save them in the freezer.

I store mine right next to my frozen naan from Trader Joe’s – perfect for an impromptu Indian lunch!

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Here’s the Recipe!

It's amazing what a few fragrant ingredient and spices can do to a pot of lentils! Serve with plenty of naan bread and basmati rice for the perfect Indian meal.

Indian Red Lentil Dal Recipe

How to make Indian Dal. This Red Lentil Dal recipe makes the perfect plant-based Indian meal! Rich, fragrant, and packed with protein for a meal you can feel good about.
4.5 from 3489 votes
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Calories: 168kcal
Author: The Wanderlust Kitchen
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red lentils - rinsed
  • 3 cups room temperature water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 green chili pepper - stemmed, seeded, and minced (serrano for spicy, jalapeno for more mild)
  • 4 garlic cloves - minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 medium tomato - diced
  • Juice of one half a lemon
  • Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

Instructions

  • Place the rinsed lentils in a large saucepan along with 3 cups of room temperature water. Turn the heat to medium and allow the lentils to cook for 20 minutes. You can cook them covered or uncovered, just make sure that you turn down the heat if needed to keep them at a gentle simmer.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cinnamon stick; cook for 60 to 90 seconds, until fragrant.
  • Add the onion, green chili pepper, garlic, and ginger; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onions are turning translucent.
  • Add the turmeric, cardamom, paprika, salt, and tomato to the pan. Cook until the tomato begins to fall apart, about 2 to 3 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.
  • Once the lentils are cooked, drain off any excess water that is on top of the lentils, but do not drain off all the water. Stir the spiced onion mixture into the pot of lentils. Add the lemon juice and stir well. Taste and add salt as needed. If it is too dry, then add some water. If it is too wet, then cook on low until it thickens to your liking.
  • Garnish with cilantro; serve with basmati rice and naan.

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Nutrition Facts
Indian Red Lentil Dal Recipe
Serving Size
 
1 /4th the recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
168
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
4
g
6
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
3
g
Sodium
 
557
mg
24
%
Carbohydrates
 
29
g
10
%
Fiber
 
6
g
25
%
Sugar
 
13
g
14
%
Protein
 
6
g
12
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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The wonderful people over at Bob’s Red Mill were kind enough to sponsor this dal recipe. I love supporting local companies!

It's amazing what a few fragrant ingredient and spices can do to a pot of lentils! Serve with plenty of naan bread and basmati rice for the perfect Indian meal.

About the Author

Anetta

Hi, I'm Anetta! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel stories from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. I believe that food brings us together as much as it sets us apart. Be brave, try something new!

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    Your recipe is a big success here! Making double quantities and saving it for later. But it won’t last long in our house! Thanx a lot!

  2. 5 stars
    This is by far the best dal recipe that I have made and simple as well. I doubled the recipe and it keeps well in the fridge for 4 days, I have not frozen leftovers. Thank you for this delicious and easy dish!

  3. 2 stars
    I think if you ignored the cardamom or did 1/4 teaspoon then it’d be good but it unfortunately made a bad batch.

  4. I REALLY need to make this but I’m no longer able to eat peppers of any kind for health reasons. It’s the worst! Do you think it would still taste ok? Should I add extra of another spice to compensate? I love spicy food so this is a huge adjustment: (

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