Origin: Brian, probably some book originally


If you make just one of these it should be enough for 3 hungry people, if you make both then it should be OK for 6. You can make it with green or yellow lentils. You use a tin of tomatoes if doing it with the green lentils.

  • 250g lentils, rinsed a few times to get the starch out
  • tin of tomatoes, chopped, if doing the green dal
  • 1.5 inch of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 6 green cardamom seeds (or 3 black)
  • 6 small chillis (or whatever, to taste), topped and finely chopped
  • Bay leaf
  • Tbsp cumin seeds
  • Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Salt
  • Ground nut oil

In a large pan, heat the oil and add the ginger. Fry for a minute or two. Add the onion, and fry until soft. Add the lentils, and cook for a few minutes stirring to stop it from sticking. If you're doing the green dal, add the tomatoes. Add enough boiling water to cover and then some (you can add more later if it goes dry). Throw in the garlic, cardamom, chillis, cinnamon, turmeric and bay leaf. Bring to a fast simmer and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. During this period, stir to stop it from sticking, and top it up with more water if it gets too dry. At the end, there should be no loose liquid, but it should be no drier than that. The lentils should turn quite mushy and not have much of their own texture left, but shouldn't dissolve completely. 10 minutes before the end, roast the cumin and coriander, crush them to a powder and put them into the dal. You do this by heating a frying pan (with no oil), throwing the coriander seeds in and shaking them about until they go brown but not black (a minute at most). Now pour them straight into a pestle and mortar and crush into a powder. Now put the cumin into the hot pan and stir and shake them until they are brown but not black, probably 5 to 10 seconds. Crush them into a powder in the pestle and mortar. Finally, season with salt to taste and serve.