Red lentil dal with crispy curry leaves

Red lentil dal with crispy curry leaves

Red lentil dal with crispy curry leaves is a bit of a staple in our house. With an unwieldy and not always clearly labelled spice collection the spice mix that makes it into each dal tends to vary but the spices in this recipe are fairly standard candidates. In reality as long as you use onion, garlic, salt and add a bit of heat then the lentils will taste good no matter what.

As well as being beautifully aromatic, the fresh curry leaves turn this from a humble dish into something a bit more glamorous. Serve the dal on its own, with rice, or alongside a vegetable curry such as pepper or aubergine and a simple onion salad.



Red lentil dal with crispy curry leaves
Serves: 4
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
  • 4 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 small red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 ½ tsp brown mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 3 green chillies, seeded and diced
  • 3 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 300g red lentils
  • 650-750ml hot water
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 lemon, one half juiced, the other half cut into wedges to serve
  • 15-20 curry leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Coarsely grind the coriander seeds and cumin seeds using a pestle and mortar or spice grinder.
  2. Heat 2 tsp of the coconut oil in a heavy based pan and fry the sliced onions until translucent.
  3. Add 2 tsp of the mustard seeds and leave for 1 minute until they start to swell and pop.
  4. Add the turmeric, crushed coriander seeds and crushed cumin seeds, 2 of the diced green chillies, chopped ginger and the chopped garlic and fry on a high heat for 30 seconds.
  5. Reduce to a low heat and stir through the lentils. Add 650ml of hot water and season well. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes adding a little more hot water if it start to look dry.
  6. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and check seasoning adding a more salt if required. Cook covered for around 7-8 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked.
  7. Just before serving heat the remaining 2 tsp of coconut oil in a frying pan. Throw in the remaining mustard seeds and when they start to pop, add the curry leaves and the remaining diced green chilli. Whip off the heat after 15 seconds when the curry leaves should have started to curl but not colour.
  8. To serve, stir the lemon juice through the dal and pile into a bowl. Pour the oil, curry leaves and mustard seeds over the top and arrange the lemon wedges around the side.


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