Yield: 4-6 servings

I’ve had a specific request for a recipe for Dal, a traditional Indian dish based on a variety of dried beans, split peas, and lentils. This is just one (non-traditional) version. It’s light, satisfying, high in protein, easy and vegetarian. Enjoy it with pita and a cool cucumber raita or serve it as a side dish with chicken and roasted veggies.

Note: Don’t be afraid of coconut milk! I used to avoid it based on its high fat content, but no longer. It is high in saturated fat, yes, but these plant-based medium chain fatty acids immediately go to work for you boosting your immunity with their anitbacterial, antifungal and antimacrobial properties. Enjoy coconut milk in moderation and in good health.


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • Juice from 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1/2 a lemon)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped


  1. Rinse lentils and combine them with water in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Skim foam from the top as required.
  2. Squeeze juice from grated ginger. Add ginger juice, turmeric, cardamom, and cayenne to dal. Continue to cook, uncovered, until mixture is very soft, thick and soupy – another 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. In a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil (or coconut oil if you have it) and sweat the onion over low/medium heat until very soft and transparent. Add crushed red pepper and cumin. Add onion mixture to dal along with salt. Cook 5 minutes longer. Stir in coconut milk.
  4. Remove from heat and finish with lemon juice, cilantro, and salt to taste.

2 Responses to Dal

  1. Laurel August 9, 2009 at 5:25 pm #

    I tried this recipe and it was a hit. I used coconut oil to sweat the onions and what a difference it made. Very tasty treat, thanks!

  2. chezdesblog August 9, 2009 at 5:26 pm #

    So glad you liked it, Laurel!

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