DIY Dal Recipe

It was National Healthy Eating week last week. If I were a more organised blogger I would have had some great post to tie in with it. Well, here it is.
Dal (or dahl*) is fantastic because it’s cheap, tasty, adaptable and full of protein. It’s also great because both our children will eat it (well, providing that The Chap is in the mood to eat anything apart from biscuits.)

The DIY in this recipe stands for ‘Do It Yesterday’. Having a second child means that our dinner time has gone forward to about 5:45. Because we value eating together as a family it means we either need to eat something that can be cooked quickly (like spaghetti in tomato sauce, our eternal standby) or something that’s already been prepared. So we’re working on a repertoire of ‘Do It Yesterday’ dishes. I tend to cook something up on a Sunday evening to eat later on in the week – tonight I will be cooking Jack Monroe’s Pork Kokkinisto to eat together tomorrow.
Recipe after the jump…
This dal is bulked out with potatoes and I’ve added a tomato and a fairly mild red chili, because the tomatoes were reduced to clear and the chili was kicking around in the fridge. It is totally inauthentic.


1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled
1/2 to 1 red chili (take out the seeds if you like)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
3 biggish potatoes (or a handful of new potatoes), diced
250g split red lentils
1 large tomato, diced
1 chicken/veg stock cube

  • Whizz the onion, garlic, ginger and chili in a food processor (or chop finely)
  • Add two tablespoons of oil to a large pan on a medium heat, then add the whizzed up onion mix
  • Sweat for around five minutes. Stir and don’t let it burn
  • Add the spices and stir into the mix
  • Add the cubed potatoes and stir to coat in the spices
  • Rinse the lentils in cold water and drain a couple of times, then add to the pan
  • Add the tomato – I don’t bother peeling or de-seeding
  • Make up around a litre of stock and pour into the pan. If you need to then top up with more water later on
  • Bring to a boil and let it boil for about 10 minutes, stirring so the dal doesn’t stick
  • Turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 20 more minutes until it’s all tender and tasty
  • Season with salt at the end, and finish with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. (I sometimes add a knob of butter at this point.)

Serve with rice or flatbreads. Top it with chopped coriander or chili and perhaps a dollop of plain yogurt. Enjoy!

If you have some more left over, it can be thinned out with more water to make a soup.

* from the Sanskrit ‘to split’, in case you’re curious. I know you aren’t. I’m just showing off.


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