I’ll have the Dal, Darl

Dal. Dahl. Daal. Doesn’t matter how you spell it, all that matters is that you eat it. A staple of Indian, Nepalese, Sri Lankan, Bangadeshi and Pakistani diets, Dal is one tasty, healthy (and cheap!) meal to eat.

For all of you vegos out there, the lentils that go into making dal are high in protein. And they’re high in lean protein – lentils contain virtually no fat. They have plenty of fiber to improve your digestive system. They are high in iron. They contain folate, essential for cell growth and reproduction. They contain vitamins C and K. For all of you guys that go for the Glycemic Index, lentils have a low GI – it takes a lot of work for your body to break them down. Basically, summing all of these together, lentils could be described as a super food.

Anyway, in my attempt to change unhealthy ways that full-time sitting in a full-time job has brought, I decided to turn this superfood into a delicious meal. Here’s my recipe for Dal.

You will need:
– 1 cup of lentils
– 1 tbsp cumin
– 1 tbsp turmeric
– 1 tbsp garam masala
– 1 tbsp chilli powder and/or a chopped red chilli
– 1 onion, chopped
– 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
– a decent handful of chopped coriander
– 3 1/2 cups of veg stock (or water)
– any sort of veg that you might want to add – I went with some pumpkin and sweet potato, and also some kale left over from my epic kale chip recipe
– olive oil

Step 1 – fry me a river: heat some oil in a saucepan and fry off your onion until it’s tender and translucent. Add your garlic, cumin, turmeric, garam masala and chilli/s. Fry these for a few seconds to release their fragrance and then add your lentils. Give them a bit of a stir.

Lentilly goodness

Step 2 – low and slow: tip your stock/water into the pot. Bring to the boil and then turn that heat right on down. You pretty much just want to be leaving this hear, lid on, stirring occasionally – like, every 20 minutes or so – until the lentils are tender and most of the water has soaked in. Think – an hour / hour and a half-type thing. About 30-45 mins into the cooking process, I added some chopped pumpkin and sweet potato – sort of square-inch sized pieces, and just let them cook along with the rest of it. About 5 mins before the end, I also added some kale and some fresh chopped coriander. The veg is optional, really, but it’s a great, healthy and tasty addition!


Have it with rice; have it with curry. I had mine with a smashing bit of barra

What a meal – your body will thank you


2 comments on “I’ll have the Dal, Darl

  1. Fenwicky says:

    Great article. Dahl recipes always seem to be associated with Indian type spices. But since it is such a basic kind of ingredient, I wonder if it could be cooked with other spice or herb bases such as Mexican or Thai.

  2. perkinsh says:

    Yeah! I think it’d work really well with Mexican. I’m imagining a really rich chilli con carne or something like that. I did try a more standard European lentil this week – you know, celery/carrot base and flavoured with thyme and bay. Decent, not as good as this dahl, but an ok base. I’ll have to try that Makhani dal – it looks bloody tasty. Next week!

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