Autumn, Winter, Light Meals, Sides

Simple dal

This is your 'master dal' recipe. The one you can always rely on as your go-to which can then be adapted, whether that's just with a little extra sprinkle or stir through.

A basic dal is not meant to be heavily spiced. It's your creamy comforting base to which you add your choice of toppings to suit.

What can you add? Think charred greens, spiced and roasted vegetable or roast tomatoes as shown here. You can serve as a side to tandoori tofu skewers or stir through spinach and top with turmeric roasted cauliflower steaks. There are endless heavenly possibilities with this lovely dish.

Try a Tarka for a traditional topping. This is a mix of spices fried in oil until sizzling and aromatic, and then folded through the creamy pulses just before serving

It firms up a bit the next day. This makes an awesome wrap or flat bread filling. Add quick-pickled red cabbage, mango chutney and fresh herbs for a winning lunch.

Learn this one recipe and so many more open up!

10 mins

1 3/4 hours

1-1/2 hours



250g yellow split lentils Chana Dhal

Large fat thumb sized piece of ginger grated

4 fat garlic cloves crushed

½ heaped tsp turmeric

1-2 green chilli‘s slit with a knife and left whole

Sea salt fresh ground black pepper

For the spiced roasted tomatoes

6-8 medium tomatoes halved

¼ tsp of the following-

Mustard seeds

Garam masala

Cumin seeds

Coriander seeds

2 tbs light oil

Salt and pepper

Fresh Coriander to serve


  1. Rinse the lentils well under cold water until the water runs clear.
  2. Add the lentil to large pan and cover with cold water about 800ml.
  3. Add a ½ tsp salt at this stage, more will be added after the lentils have cooked, bring to the boil, scooping any scum off the surface as it bubbles.
  4. Add the remain ingredients including the pepper but no more salt until later. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 1-1/1/2 hours.
  5. After which time the lentils should be soft and will easily break down when pushed to the side of the pan.
  6. Using a wooden spoon or whisk, beat firmly until it becomes soupy and creamy. Now taste for seasoning and add more salt as necessary.
  7. Now you may add your flavours of choice. It is delicious as is but fresh herbs are really a must and some kind of spiced Tarka or veggies will bring it to life.
  8. To make the tomatoes I used here, preheat the oven to 160°C Fan.
  9. Line a baking tray with parchment and spread the tomatoes out cut side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little light oil. Combine all the spices except the mustard seeds in pestle and mortar and give them a little bash.
  10. Sprinkle over the tomatoes and cook in the preheated oven for around 30-40minutes, until bursting and juicy.

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