Cozy golden red lentil dal. A classic Indian vegetarian dish, made with simple, wholesome ingredients. Lentils, coconut milk, spices, and broth. A quick dinner that will come together in 20 minutes and light you up from the inside out.
This dal (also known as daal or dhal). It is one of my absolute favorite recipes, and after going out to an Indian restaurant last week, I was inspired to make it myself at home. The best part? This recipe could not be any easier to make. No seriously, you only need one pot (cheers to less dishes), 10 ingredients, and 20 MINUTES! And it’s insanely delicious (top ten favorite recipes for sure). The perfect cool weather meal- healthy, warming, simple. Pure comfort food.
I started with red lentils and chopped carrots, adding in broth, coconut milk, and plenty of spices. Simply let everything simmer away, and watch as the stew turns into a creamy dal. It’s warming, delightful, and beyond tasty.
So the base, and bulk, of this dish is obviously lentils. If you haven’t had lentils much, or are a bit wary of them, this is the recipe to start with. Plus lentils are one of the best sources of plant based protein (1 cup = 18g), not to mention fiber and B vitamins. They also cook up more quickly than most beans, so they are best to buy dry and cook from scratch. This recipe uses red lentils- this is important because when they cook, they become creamy and lose their structure, making the dal much thicker than a traditional stew. Be aware that if you buy brown or green lentils, they won’t break down in this way, but instead will resemble a more traditional bean. Brown and green lentils are also more earthy tasting, so red is a good place to start!
The spices include turmeric powder, curry (or garam masala), and cumin. The turmeric is makes it “golden”, not to mention it’s a wonderful spice known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. The curry gives it the classic flavor, and cumin adds just the right amount of spice. I always top mine with cayenne pepper as well, but it’s up to you!
This dish is delightful on it’s own, but I love it best paired with cilantro rice, fresh spinach, and naan (here is my gluten-free recipe). I hope you enjoy! And if you make this dish, make sure to tag me so I can see! @karlcooks_
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 2 tsp curry powder or garam masala
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 2 cups red lentils, dry
- 2.5- 3 cups vegetable broth (depending on how thick you want the dal)
- 1 (15 oz.) can light coconut milk
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- Fresh black pepper
- For serving: rice, cilantro, cayenne pepper, baby spinach
- Begin cooking rice, if serving.
- For curry, add oil, garlic, ginger, and carrots to a large pot and cook on medium until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add in curry powder, cumin, and turmeric stirring for another minute.
- Next, add red lentils, coconut milk, vegetable broth, and salt/pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce to low heat and let cook for 15-20 more minutes, with the lid slightly ajar, until carrots and lentils are soft. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Add more broth for a thinner consistency.
- Stir cilantro into rice.
- Serve with rice, baby spinach, and cayenne pepper for spice.