Dhal - recipe and video!
Spice Kitchen - Asian

Dhal - recipe and video!

Another excellent dhal recipe from Richard Smith, we have shared with below. 

Made predominately from Lentils, this Indian staple dish is comforting, nutritious and appetising.  In my version, the oil and spices are added at the beginning rather than the end as a Tarka/Tadka, making it a little simpler to prepare.  To make a perfectly spiced Dhal I recommend using a superior suppler of spices. Spice Kitchen UK supplies premium quality spices, accessories, gifts, and helpful advice.


Serves 6-8  as a snack/side dish, or yields 3-4 generous main portions.

All spoon measurements are level, unless otherwise specified.

  • 250g Red Split Lentils, rinsed well in water
  • 60ml Oil or Ghee (or a combination. Ghee gives a richer flavour)
  • 1-2 Asian Bay Leaves (Tej Patta, or regular European ones)
  • Cassia Bark, a couple of 5-6cm pieces
  • 3-4 Green Cardamom Pods (split open, or the seeds from within)
  • 2 TBSP Curry Leaves
  • 80g Onion, very finely chopped (approx 1 medium)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, very finely chopped
  • 5 tsp Ginger, very finely chopped
  • 5 tsp Cumin Seeds, and 1 tsp Coriander Seeds, both freshly toasted and ground to a powder
  • 5 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Curry Powder (for example a mild Madras one)
  • 25 tsp Garam Masala
  • 25 tsp Salt
  • 3-4 TBSP of Finely chopped Fresh Coriander Stalks
  • 2 TBSP Double Concentrated Tomato Purée (good quality)
  • 5 tsp Methi
  • 1 Litre Water


  1. Wash the Lentils in cold water and drain.
  2. In a saucepan on medium heat, add the 60ml Oil or Ghee
  3. Add the (Asian) Bay Leaves, Cassia Bark, Green Cardamom, and fry for 1 minute to allow flavour to infuse the oil. Stir frequently.
  4. Add Curry Leaves, and fry for a further 30 seconds.
  5. Add the finely chopped Onion. Fry for a few minutes until onion has softened, stirring often.
  6. Add the Garlic and Ginger, and stir fry for another minute.
  7. Now, add the Cumin/Coriander powder, Turmeric, Curry Powder, Garam Masala and Salt. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring very often.
  8. Add the Lentils, Tomato Purée, Methi, and Coriander Stalks. Coat well, cook for a 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently to stop the lentils sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
  9. Add approximately 500ml Water, so to amply cover the Lentils.
  10. Bring to a gentle boil, and cook for 20-25 minutes until the Lentils are mushy and have no discernible 'bite' to them. Top of with extra water while cooking to maintain a medium thickness. Stir occasionally.
  11. Taste, and add more salt if desired.
  12. Add 2-3 tsp Butter Ghee at the end of cooking, to give extra rich flavour and a nice sheen (Optional).
  13. Serve, topped with finely chopped Fresh Coriander leaves.


  1. All spoon measurements are level unless otherwise specified. i.e. 1 tsp = 5ml , 1 TBSP = 15ml.
  2. Other types of pulses can be used instead or in addition to the red lentils, but may take considerably longer to cook.
  3. This recipe has been deliberately kept fairly basic to allow the Dhal to be used as an ingredient in other dishes (for example Dhansak curry). Feel free to add or replace whole spices with your own preference, e.g. Fennel Seeds, Star Anise, Panch Phoran.
  4. For extra heat, add finely sliced chillies near the end of cooking.
  5. Unsalted Butter may be used instead of Butter Ghee.
  6. Video of me making this... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psQuZBNX3tg
  7. Misty Ricardo's Curry Kitchen YouTube Channel... https://www.youtube.com/c/MistyRicardo

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