Main Dishes Recipes

Spicy Red Lentil Dhal

10th November 2015
Spicy Red Lentil Dhal

Dhal is only something I’ve recently really come to appreciate. Until the last year or so I saw it as a poor replacement for a ‘proper curry’ but after a delicious version at Raja Monkey Cafe as part of a Thali, I’ve come to see it’s beauty (when done well, anyway!) This led me to order it more and more when out, and try it out at home several times.

I’ve settled upon this combination as my favourite. As usual it has a hefty whack of chilli flavour as well as coriander. The garnishes on the top add that little extra zing. Serve with some fluffy basmati rice or a buttery naan bread to mop up every last drop. This recipe is perfect for batch cooking for the Autumn and Winter months, double up the quantities and you have several freezer meals for those dark nights where cooking is the last thing on your mind!

Spicy Red Lentil Dhal

Serves 4


  • 1tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1.5 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp black onion seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tbsp tumeric
  • 1 small red chilli finely chopped
  • 1 small green chilli finely chopped
  • 100g red lentils
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • Pomegranate seeds, chopped coriander, sliced red chilli and peanuts or cashews to garnish



  1. Firstly grind the whole spices (chill flakes, cumin, coriander, sesame, onion and mustard seeds) in a spice grinder or pound in a pestle and mortar. (Find what is a best material for a mortar and pestle at )
  2. In a large heavy based saucepan heat 1tbsp olive oil and on a low – medium heat fry the onions until very soft and golden (about 10-15mins).
  3. To the onions add garlic and chillies and fry for a further 5mins.
  4. Add the ground spices and turmeric and fry for 1-2mins until they become very fragrant, stir a lot so nothing catches.
  5. Add in the lentils, stir so all is coated, then cover with the coconut milk and stock. Bring to the boil then turn down to a gentle simmer and leave for at least 30mins, or until the lentils are cooked through. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.
  6. Serve the dhal in bowls and top with your favourite combination of garnishes. My essentials would be fresh chilli and coriander, with nuts for a bit of crunch.



Happy eating ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll be entering this into Credit Crunch Munch from Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All and this months host: Elizabeths Kitchen Diary


If you like the look of this check out some other recipes using red lentils from around the web

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No Comments

  • Reply andydhare 10th November 2015 at 09:39

    Looks lovely Roz. I’ll have to make this. Love Dhal ?

  • Reply Margotโš“C&V (@coffeenvanilla) 10th November 2015 at 11:46

    That sounds lovely Roz! I just got 2 kg bag of red lentils recently… now I have an idea what to make with them ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Lucy @ BakingQueen74 10th November 2015 at 11:49

    Your dhal looks so good! Loving the garnishes too, they make it look so pretty and I bet they add so much flavour. Perfect on a cold evening!

  • Reply Camilla 10th November 2015 at 11:55

    We love dhal and this one looks and sounds fabulous, so pretty and appetising:-) Thanks for a lovely entry to #CreditCrunchMunch;-)

  • Reply Helen at Casa Costello 10th November 2015 at 14:38

    Flipping Hek, that looks good – We are still working our way through a huge bag of red lentils that I bought from Costco so these will be used to make this! Lovely photos too x

    • Reply the foodie couple 10th November 2015 at 17:02

      Thanks Helen! We have huge bags lentils too- and there’s only two of us!

  • Reply Diana 10th November 2015 at 17:10

    I love lentils and cooking with lentils! I have never tried dhal but really want to so pinning your recipe for later!

  • Reply Kate | The Veg Space 10th November 2015 at 17:22

    Ooh I love Dhal, such perfect comfort food with a bowl of rice, there’s nothing better. Yours looks delish, love the garnishes on top!

    • Reply the foodie couple 11th November 2015 at 13:23

      thanks kate! i love how a garnish can transform otherwise dull looking things

  • Reply Julie 's Family Kitchen 10th November 2015 at 17:24

    That looks absolutely fantastic Roz, perfect for a curry night in.

  • Reply Elizabeth 2nd December 2015 at 12:03

    What a gorgeous tasty looking recipe! All my favourite flavours in one dish! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for sharing with Credit Crunch Munch ๐Ÿ™‚

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