We are convinced that lentils dahl is one of the most versatile dishes on the planet. Dahl is a signature main course or soup in every Indian family’s repertoire. Every family has its own way of making this hearty and filling, protein-packed legume dish.
At a glance, this recipe may seem intricate because of its many ingredients and seemingly several steps, but we are here to tell you how simple it really is. Once you have the spices, lentils, and rice on hand you’ll be able to whip up this one-pot meal in 45 minutes or less!
Let’s get into the details of making one of our favorite dishes for both winter weather and summertime alike. Keep in mind this dish is great for leftovers, freezing for later, and can be scaled up or down to suit your needs.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped small
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried ginger
- 1 tablespoon yellow curry
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
- 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 7 cups of water or vegetable broth split into 5 and 2 cups
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 whole lemon, half juiced, half cut into wedges
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- A drizzle of Harissa Olive Oil to taste
- A drizzle of Peach Balsamic
- 1 small bubbled of cilantro, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups white basmati rice
- In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the chopped onion in the olive oil for five minutes until glassine.
- Add the minced garlic and cook till fragrant, about one minute.
- Add all dried spices to the onions and garlic except the garam masala. It is a finishing spice, and we will stir it at the last minute after we’ve turned off the heat.
- Add the diced fire-roasted tomatoes to the pot and stir to combine.
- Next, bring the lentils to a boil and then turn the heat to medium-low to simmer. Cover the pot and allow to slow cook, checking the water levels every now and then for 30 minutes.
- After about 30 minutes, remove the lid, check the water levels of your dahl, stir in a bit more broth if you’d like them to be a little less runny, and squeeze in your half a lemon. I like to squeeze my lemons over a mesh strainer to catch all the seeds.
- While your dahl is simmering and staying warm during the final moments of cooking, it’s time to cook your rice. To cook the perfect rice, no matter the type, you’ve got to steam your rice. This takes all of fifteen minutes of cook time and five minutes to let the rice sit after cooking, and you are golden.
- Grab a boiler that has a tight-fitting lid. If you don’t have a tight-fitting lid, you can use a piece of tin foil and a sturdy plate that can withstand the heat.
- Add your one and a half cups of rice and two cups of water to your second pot and turn to high. Allow the rice and water to come to a boil. Once a rolling boil starts, turn down the heat to low, cover the rice with the tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil and plate and allow to cook for fifteen minutes. Set a timer, and while it is cooking, it is time for the final dahl step.
- The final step for the lentil dahl is to stir in the garam masala. The garam masala is a mix of aromatics that will really bring this dish to life and really make the entire experience memorable for all who sit at your table.
- Once your timer for your rice goes off, remove it from the heat and leave it to sit, covered for five minutes. This will let the rice suck up the last bits of steam in the pot. Once it has been five minutes and you’ve removed your lid, you’ll know your rice is perfect because the individual grains of rice will be standing up on their tippy-toes pointing at the lid.
A Feast for the Eyes as Well as the Stomach
Now it is time to bowl! We love to spoon in a scoop of rice and cup it to the side of the bowl, pour the dahl on the other side, and top with cilantro, a drizzle of spicy Harissa Olive Oil to taste.