This quick and flavourful red lentil dahl is a great vegan midweek meal or alternative homemade curry.
I love lentil dahl (or is it dal, dhal, daal? C’mon you and hummus/hoummus need to get some spelling consistency!). As soon as my husband mentions wanting a curry, I know exactly what I’ll be having – red lentil dahl. I’ve tweaked and changed the recipe over the years and I’ve finally settled on this combination as my absolute favourite.
A lentil dahl doesn’t always have tomatoes in it, but I like how the acidity from the tomatoes cuts through the coconut milk so it has more depth of flavour rather than sweetness. It’s mildly spiced with a gentle heat from the spices, chillis and ginger. I’ve added two big handfuls of fresh spinach at the end because meals need green veg!
This meal can be on the table in 30 minutes and is perfect along with naan bread, rice, chapattis or poppadoms. Perhaps some vegetable samosas or onion bhajis. You could even try it with my cauliflower and spinach pakoras – they’re also quick to make and full of nourishing ingredients.
A great thing about this dish is how you can adapt it to suit your taste. Add more chilli if you like the heat, or more coconut milk if you want it extra creamy.
Isn’t that one dreamy pot? It’s a massive family-sized cast iron and enamel 28cm cocotte from Staub, in a gorgeous shade of mustard. For the rest of my life I know that my family will be tucking into stews, soups, curries, dahl and other amazing meals round this beauty. It is most definitely built to last and it heats perfectly evenly, with a special divetted lid to baste the food and keep in moisture.
- 200g (1 cup) red lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (or coconut oil)
- 2 onions, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- ½ red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 x 400ml tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
- 500ml (2 cups) vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 handfuls fresh spinach, washed
- Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and red chilli and cook for a few minutes.
- Grind the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds lightly in a pestle and mortar, then add to the pan, along with the turmeric and garam masala and cook for 1 minute. Add the lentils, tomatoes, coconut milk and stock, then stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and cook on a low heat for 25-30 minutes until reduced and thick. Stir in the lemon juice and spinach, then cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Serve warm with rice, naan bread or poppadoms.
Looking for more inspiration for vegan curries and dhals?
Swiss chard and potoato dhal by The Veg Space
Sweet potato, chickpea and coconut curry by Planet Veggie
Tarka Daal by The Hedgecombers
Vegetable Dhal Curry by FabFood4All
Spicy Red Lentil Dhal by FoodieCouple Blog
And take a look at this thorough overview of dhal by GujaraitGirl
Rasiya Muthiya by Botanical Baker
Malaysian Style Vegetable Curry by BakingQueen74
Panch Phoran Veggies by Kneadwhine
Disclosure: The pot was sent by Staub for review. All opinons are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for me to run this blog.