Dhal – Indian Lentil Curry from Scratch – #MeatFreeWeek

Posted: August 3rd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Indian, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian | No Comments »

Dahl and Indian Mixed Vegetable CurryDhal (Indian Lentil Curry)
Serves 4 to 6

This dhaal is a fantastic accompaniment to many Indian dishes. Be sure to check the recipe notes for instructions on how to make curry paste and curry oil from scratch, if you feel inclined to do so.

Usual notes:
I like to use organic produce and purified water in all my recipes, and I recommend you do, too.
Taste and adjust the seasoning to your own palatte. Remember that my recipes are only guidelines, not prescriptions, so feel free to improvise; you don’t have to follow them too rigidly. The one ingredient you must always include however, is LOVE! x



  • 500g red lentils
  • Purified water
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp fresh crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp Madras or mild curry paste*
  • 1 Tbsp curry oil*
  • ½ teaspoon of cumin powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Massel vegetable stock powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 small bunch coriander, leaves only, chopped


How to:

Rinse lentils thoroughly, drain, and set aside.

In a heavy-based pot on med-high heat, add curry oil, onion, ginger, garlic, turmeric and stir well. Then add cumin powder, salt and continue to stir. Add curry paste, stir well for about 2 mins, then add lentils, stir well and cover generously with water, remembering you can always add more water if needed.

Turn heat up to high and boil rapidly for approximately 10 mins, stirring constantly.

Turn heat down to low, cover with lid and let simmer for approximately 45 mins. As mentioned, if more water is needed, add and stir. Check and stir every now and then to ensure lentils don’t stick to bottom of pan.


To serve:

Sprinkle over with chana chat and chopped fresh coriander. Serve with curry of your choice, quinoa or rice and lots of love. x


* Recipe notes:

Curry oil: I like to make my own as it is so quick and easy to do so. Curry oil can be stored in the fridge and should last for a few weeks.

Curry Oil


  • 1 Tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 4 whole dried chillis
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ cup plucked fresh curry leaves (or frozen)

Heat oil in a heavy-based pan on med-high heat. Add all ingredients in order of list (leave around 15 seconds in between adding each component) and stir well, continuing to stir and cook until curry leaves start to pop. Be mindful they can spit, so step back!

Strain the oil, keeping only the liquid which is now your curry oil. 


Curry paste: Again, I always like to make my curry pastes from scratch if time allows! Curry paste can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for a few weeks.

Madras Curry Paste 


  • 1 large brown onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 large red chillies, de-seeded and halved
  • 1½-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2½ tablespoons good-quality Madras curry powder
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • Himalayan salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (coconut, grapeseed or non-GMO Canola)

Blend all ingredients in a food processor. You may need to pulse a couple of times at the start to break down larger ingredients, then continue to blend until it forms a smooth paste.