Easy Red Lentil Dhal

lentil dahl with naan bread


Easy Home Cooking Contest Recipe Winner 2018 – Grand Prize Winner and People's Choice Award!

Every Indian family has their own unique spin on dhal. For Whitney of New Westminster, BC, making this dish reminds her of her mom’s cooking. A pot can be cooked up and enjoyed over a few days during the week. This flavourful version adds toasted spices that enhance each bowl served up with rice or naan.                                       

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4-6


  1. One cup (1 cup/250 mL) of uncooked lentils will make about 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) of cooked lentils.
  2. If you like your dahl spicier, use the entire Thai chili.
  3. Put leftovers away within 2 hours or sooner if they are in a warm location.  Reheat leftovers to an internal temperature of 74ºC (165ºF).  Discard uneaten leftovers after they have been reheated.


Red lentils

1 cup (250 mL) 


1 small


4 cloves


2 small

Thai chili 1 small, cut in half
Canola oil

1 Tbsp (15 mL)

Ground turmeric

1/2 tsp (2 ml)


1/2 tsp (2 ml)


3 cups (750 mL)

Spice Mix


Fresh ginger 2 tsp (10 mL)
Fresh cilantro 2 Tbsp (30 mL)
Canola oil 1 tsp (5 mL)
Cumin seeds 1 tsp (5 mL)
Black mustard seeds 1 tsp (5 mL)


  1. Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.  Clean all countertops and equipment used for food preparation.
  2. Rinse lentils in fine mesh sieve with water; set aside.
  3. Gently rinse the onion, garlic, tomatoes and Thai chili under cool running water.  Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic; set aside in a small bowl. Chop the tomatoes and place in a small bowl.  Cut the chili in half; dice half of it and reserve the other half for another recipe.
  4.  Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, turmeric and salt about 5 minutes or until softened. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes or until softened. 
  5. Stir in rinsed lentils, water and chili; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook for about 25 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  6. Meanwhile for the spice mix, gently rinse the cilantro and ginger under cool running water. Chop the cilantro and set aside.  Mince the ginger and set aside. 
  7. Heat oil, ginger, cumin and mustard seeds in a small pan over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes or until seeds start to pop. Remove from heat. 
  8. Uncover soup and stir in spice mixture. Let cook, uncovered for 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Nutrition information per serving: 

Calories: 201 kcal

Protein: 11 g

Fat: 5 g

Carbohydrate: 30 g

Fibre: 6 g

Sodium: 202 mg

Calcium: 50 mg

Iron: 4 mg

Last Update – March 21, 2024

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