Spicy Red Lentil Dhal

Spicy Red Lentil Dhal

Dhal is only something I’ve recently really come to appreciate. Until the last year or so I saw it as a poor replacement for a ‘proper curry’ but after a delicious version at Raja Monkey Cafe as part of a Thali, I’ve come to see it’s beauty (when done well, anyway!) This led me to order it more and more when out, and try it out at home several times.

I’ve settled upon this combination as my favourite. As usual it has a hefty whack of chilli flavour as well as coriander. The garnishes on the top add that little extra zing. Serve with some fluffy basmati rice or a buttery naan bread to mop up every last drop. This recipe is perfect for batch cooking for the Autumn and Winter months, double up the quantities and you have several freezer meals for those dark nights where cooking is the last thing on your mind!

Spicy Red Lentil Dhal

Serves 4


  • 1tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1.5 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp black onion seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tbsp tumeric
  • 1 small red chilli finely chopped
  • 1 small green chilli finely chopped
  • 100g red lentils
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • Pomegranate seeds, chopped coriander, sliced red chilli and peanuts or cashews to garnish



  1. Firstly grind the whole spices (chill flakes, cumin, coriander, sesame, onion and mustard seeds) in a spice grinder or pound in a pestle and mortar.
  2. In a large heavy based saucepan heat 1tbsp olive oil and on a low – medium heat fry the onions until very soft and golden (about 10-15mins).
  3. To the onions add garlic and chillies and fry for a further 5mins.
  4. Add the ground spices and turmeric and fry for 1-2mins until they become very fragrant, stir a lot so nothing catches.
  5. Add in the lentils, stir so all is coated, then cover with the coconut milk and stock. Bring to the boil then turn down to a gentle simmer and leave for at least 30mins, or until the lentils are cooked through. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.
  6. Serve the dhal in bowls and top with your favourite combination of garnishes. My essentials would be fresh chilli and coriander, with nuts for a bit of crunch.



Happy eating 🙂

I’ll be entering this into Credit Crunch Munch from Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All and this months host: Elizabeths Kitchen Diary


If you like the look of this check out some other recipes using red lentils from around the web


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