Recipe Index

Red Lentil Dahl with Tomatoes and Curry leaves

Serves 4-6

Indian lentil dahls are so flexible, healthy and filling they’re likely to become a favorite weeknight meal option with practice. This red lentil version is very pantry friendly along with a few frozen curry leaves. If you don’t want to bother with cardamom in pods replace it with 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, sprinkling it along with the other ground spices into the heated oil.

Tip: Speed this up on weeknights by leaving the lentils to soak in the water right before you leave the house in the morning; upon cooking at night they’ll cook up creamy faster than you can order Indian takeout!

2 cups dry red lentils

5 cups water

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

1 to 3 dried red chilies

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 cardamom pods

1 red onion, finely chopped

4 curry leaves

One 14 oz can diced tomatoes, juice drained and reserved.

1 tablespoon lime juice

1. In a large stock pot combine water, lentils and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat for 1 minute, then turn heat down to low and partially cover. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Towards the end of the 25 minutes, heat the oil in small skillet over low heat. Crush cardamom with the side of a chef’s and add to the oil. In a spice grinder grind coriander, fenugreek, dried chiles, cinnamon, and turmeric into a course powder and sprinkle into oil. Stir and fry for about 30 seconds, then add chopped onion and curry leaves. Continue to fry for another 30-45 seconds until curry leaves are curling and onion is slightly softened. Watch carefully and don’t burn the spices.

3. Pour the reserved tomato juice into the spices and simmer, stirring occasionally until the juices dissolve any crusted spices from the bottom of the pan. Pour this into the cooking lentils, then add the drained diced tomatoes. Partially cover again and simmer dahl for 10 minutes. Season with the lime juice and additional salt if desired. Serve hot with any rice or flat bread.


-Make with yellow split peas, increasing the initial cooking time to 35 minutes.