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Red Lentil Dal

There are as many recipes for Dal as there are cooks! Dal is a term originating in South Asia for dried, split pulses that do not require soaking before cooking. The spices can be changed up to suit your taste.
Serve as a vegetarian dish on rice with naan or as a side with lamb or chicken.


  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) red split lentils, rinsed
  • 1 medium sized tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) finely chopped onion
  • 3 cups (750 mL) vegetable broth
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) canola oil
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) grated fresh ginger, or 2 tsp (10 mL) ground
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) garam masala, or more if desired
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried chili flakes, if desired
  • Optional garnishes

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) coconut yogurt or thick coconut milk
  • chopped cilantro
  • zest & juice from 1 lime


In a large saucepan, over medium low heat, simmer lentils, tomato and onion in vegetable broth for 10-12 minutes, until tender and mixture has thickened.  Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. Lentils will continue to thicken as they sit.

Meanwhile, in a heavy bottom skillet, heat canola oil over medium low. Add shallots, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric and chili flakes, if using. Stir gently until mixture is fragrant and shallots are translucent.  Remove from heat.

If necessary reheat lentils with a bit of broth or water until hot and the consistency of a thick chowder. Transfer to a serving bowl.  With a large spoon drizzle the shallot/spice mixture in a circle pattern over the lentils. Stir just once or twice to lightly incorporate, drizzle with the yogurt or thick coconut milk, if desired.

Garnish with chopped cilantro, lime zest and lime juice.

Serve hot with rice and naan for a delicious vegetarian meal or as a side with lamb or chicken.

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