Gently spiced, warming one pot red lentil dal. Perfect for a quick wintery supper.
What’s that you say, you’re already obsessed with my one pot red lentil dal? Well JOIN THE CLUB! Listen, it’s winter where I am. It’s getting colder by the day and I’m working on a pretty big, rather terrifying project. Now more than ever (most overused phrase in 2020) I need a bloody good dal!
If you’re in a similar state, then let me tell you, this one pot red lentil dal IS the dal you’re looking for. It’s shockingly easy to make and tastes like a massive hug from that auntie you really get on with but don’t see enough.
What makes this one pot red lentil dal so good?
Ok here’s the tea. Usually one pot dishes struggle with flavour – particularly curries and dal. As we know, spices only really SING when they’re tempered before being added to a curry. This is why the best dals use a separate tarka (which literally means “temper”).
But because this is a one pot red lentil dal, we’re avoiding a tarka, as it requires another pot! So here’s the trick – this recipe tempers the spices WHILE you fry the onions – IN THE SAME SAUCEPAN! No I didn’t invent this method, but if you’d like to give me a round of applause I promise it’ll go straight to my head.
How do I make it!?
It’s an easy enough process – you probably don’t need all this explaining. But here’s the deal – I need to pay my mortgage, so permit me to pad this page out with just a couple extra ads. Feel free to scroll to the bottom of the page if you’re too good for my FREE ADVICE (who’s she think she is? Gorgon Ramsley??)
1. Start with the spices.
How many TIMES do I have to tell you to TEMPER YOUR DAMN SPICES, OK?? This one pot red lentil dal is NO EXCEPTION, but we’re just gonna temper the spices before we start frying any onions or garlic. Easy.
Get your oil nice and hot and then add your spices. Don’t let them burn or they’ll be very bitter, particularly the mustard seeds. If the mustard seeds start popping rapidly, then you’ve gone too far.
2. Fry off your onions and garlic.
Get those bad boys in the pan! Some people fry the onion for a minute before adding the garlic, and that’s ok. You can do that. Fine by me. Personally I just throw everything in because I’m cruisin’ for a big fat hug from that gorgeous dal and I don’t wait for NOBODY!
Fry until the onions are nicely softened but don’t let anything burn. Turn down the heat if it looks like you’re heading for Burn Town.
3. Cook off the tomatoes.
Adding tomatoes to a recipe is like adding me to your long-distance running club: we both take great pleasure in slowing EVERYTHING down. If you were to throw your tomatoes in at the same time as your lentils and your water, the whole process would take FOREVER!
But I’m gonna do this right, and by GOSH so are you, so we’re going to add our tomatoes first and give them a good head start with a nice 5 minute lid-on simmer. You want to see that gorgeous spicy oil bubbling out through the top of the tomatoes when you take the lid off. Perfecto.
4. Finally! Lentils!
You’ve been wondering – WHEN do we add the lentils to this one pot red lentil dal?? The answer is NOW!! QUICK!! DO IT!! Get some water and salt in there too because sodium = sodi-YUM!
Let these fellas simmer down until they’re almost COMPLETELY cooked. They should be just about holding their shape but not gritty in your mouth. nobody likes a gritty mouth.
5. And that’s it!
No seriously, that’s it! I like to add some kale at this point but that’s totally optional – regardless you’ve got a gorgeous red lentil dal ready to pour directly into your face (don’t do that – it might burn).
Top with some fresh coriander, vegan yogurt and some chilli flakes and you look like a PROPER kitchen boss. Wooh someone get this person a bloody cooking show! SMASHING IT!
You guys are gonna love this dal so much I can feel it in my bones! Give this recipe a go and let me know what you think over on my instagram.
Need more winter warmer recipes??
Then you came to the right place! Why not give these bad boys a try!?
One Pot Red Lentil Dal
- no specialist equipment required
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida
- 1/4 tsp ground fenugreek
- 2 curry leaves
- 1/2 onion ((finely chopped))
- 2 cloves garlic ((finely crushed))
- 250 g chopped tomatoes ((canned or fresh))
- 180 g red split lentils
- 700 ml water
- pinch fine sea salt
- 5 stems kale (or cavolo nero (de-stemmed and roughly chopped))
- 1 small bunch coriander ((roughly torn))
- 4 tbsp vegan yogurt ((unflavoured and unsweetened) or coconut cream)
- pinch chilli flakes
- 1/2 lime
- Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Bring to temperature. Add the mustard seeds, spices and curry leaves to the hot oil and allow to temper for 30 seconds. Add the onion and garlic and fry for two minutes. Do not allow the garlic to burn.
- Cook for a further minute before adding the chopped tomatoes. If using fresh tomatoes, add a splash of water here too. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils, water and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover with the lid again and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the lid and test the lentils – they should be just slightly undercooked and still just about holding their shape. Stir in the kale and another splash of water if the lentils are looking too thick. Allow to simmer for a further 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and top with the coriander, vegan yogurt and chilli flakes. Right before serving, squeeze the lime over the top. Serve with rice, roti or just on its own.