Make Dhal: thrifty, yummy, practically perfect

I probably cook dhal once a week. We all love it. It’s yummy, uncomplicated quick as anything and costs literally pence to make, especially if you buy your lentils, turmeric and cumin from Indian grocers. I always stock up over on Stapleton Road here in Bristol. Red or yellow – they’ll both do the trick.

Oh, I mustn’t forget to mention, dhal is healthy too! Provided you go easy on the oil and salt (I sometimes make a mistake with the latter as we like salty food). It’s also gluten-free and dairy-free, obviously, which is pretty important ’round these parts.

I’ve had a few conversations with people lately who’ve said they’re unsure about making dhal so I thought I’d remove the mystery around this simplest of foods and share how I bosh it together for 6-8 helpings, depending on how thin I make it. There really is no fancy foodie trick here.

What you need
1 cup of lentils (red or yellow)
1 tsp turmeric
4 cloves of garlic – crushed
sunflower or olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin

What you do
Wash and drain 1 cup of lentils. Set lentils in 2 cups of water to boil. When the water begins to simmer, mix in 1 teaspoon of turmeric and two crushed cloves of garlic. Lower the heat if the pot begins to boil over. Spoon off the white stuff at the top if you like but I don’t always bother if there’s not much, having rinsed the lentils beforehand. When the lentils are soft (this will take mere minutes), remove the pot from the heat. In a separate pan, fry remaining garlic in sunflower or olive oil, mixing in 1 teaspoon of ground cumin. When the garlic begins to brown, remove the pan from the heat. Pour the lentil contents into the pan and mix to combine everything. If you think your dhal is a bit thick (thinner is better, really) then just add some hot water. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve with rice.

Make dhal - thrifty, yummy, perfect


  1. January 17, 2014 / 5:26 pm

    this is perfect for me and my vegan month! I never knew it was simple. Maybe you could help me go shopping at some of the shops on Stapleton Road? x
    Fritha recently posted..Look Magazine – Tigerlilly Quinn

    • January 19, 2014 / 11:45 pm

      Definitely! No point living where you live and not taking advantage of them!

  2. January 17, 2014 / 6:00 pm

    Oh great! This sounds like a delicious and quick dinner idea! Will give it a whirl next week.
    Amy @2boys1mum recently posted..Review of Baby2.0

  3. January 17, 2014 / 8:33 pm

    I love dahl, it’s one of my go-to recipes when i don’t know what else to make!! quick, easy and tasty!
    Polly recently posted..Things I Love

    • January 19, 2014 / 11:44 pm

      I can definitely identify with that one! “Oh, there are lentils in the cupboard. We are OK!”

  4. January 18, 2014 / 7:31 pm

    Mmm yummy, we love it here as well. I like to toss some chunky veggies in oil, lemon juice and paprika and then griddle them to serve alongside. We are not even veggies, but we love that meal! Hurrah for lentils, eh?

    • January 19, 2014 / 11:43 pm

      Yum, yum! We eat a lot of veggie food mainly because it’s cheap!

    • January 19, 2014 / 11:42 pm

      We tend to eat it as is but yeah, definitely it’d be lush with added veg.

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