Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dal - or - Red Lentil Curry

Thanks for letting me into the fabulous Recipe Room! (And now might be a good time to admit I've been stalking you.)

This recipe is from an old (previous) boss of mine who is from Bangladesh. It's a simple, good, and healthy recipe. It can be eaten as a soup, or like a curry over rice. It's hearty enough to be the main dish. It makes a large pot, so we usually have leftovers. We think it might even be better the day after. (I borrowed the photo, below.)

Dal/ Red Lentil Curry

Prep time: 10 minutes, if that
Total time: 65 minutes

2 Tablespoons oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (1 1/2 tsp)
2 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne (or less or more, whatever you prefer)
2 Tablespoons canned mild green chilies
2 cups red lentils (divided)
8 cups water
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt
cilantro, for garnish, optional (and very controversial, I know.)

1) Heat oil in dutch oven, over medium heat, and saute onions until translucent.
2) Add garlic; spices: turmeric, coriander, cayenne; and green chilies. Saute quickly to combine and heat the spices.
3) Add in 1 1/4 cup of the lentils, and the water and salt.
4) Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Skim foam -if any- off top.
5) After about 45 minutes, when lentils are broken, add remaining 3/4 cup of lentils. Simmer additional 20 minutes.
Serve as soup or over rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro (if you know what's good for you!)


*We buy red lentils in bulk at Good Earth. I'm sure you can find them elsewhere, too. Depending on the source, you might want to rinse and sort the lentils before adding them in. By the way, Red Lentil Curry actually turns out yellow. ;) You can use green lentils but you'll end up with a curry that's an unearthly fluorescent green color.

*Leftover green chilies freeze well in a ziplock freezer bag. (Squeeze out the air.)


  1. I think I had this once- Thank you for posting it, Vickie, we love any and all types of curry! I am going to make it this week.

  2. (And why is cilantro very controversial, I wonder?)

  3. Have you ever substituted garam masala for the spices? If so, how much do you put in?

  4. I haven't used garam masala in this dish. Mr. Ahmed (my boss from Bangladesh) would object, I'm sure. But I don't mind, Give it a try!