Red Lentil Dhal

When you’re feeling cold, whether physically or emotionally, a good dhal with bread or rice is pure comfort food. Make it wet and it can be a soup. Make it dry and it is a filling main course. It helps that making it is about as simple, about as store cupboard staple as can be.

The amounts here will fill a family of four with big appetites. There is no shame in halfing the amounts!


  • 400g red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 stock cube (or 1/2pt homemade stock if you’re hardcore)
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 25g butter
  • 2tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 red chilli chopped
  • salt and pepper to tast

Put the lentils in a large saucepan. Cover with water/stock by at least a couple of centimetres and bring to the boil. Remove the foam from the top of the water.

Add the turmeric and half the butter and reduce the pan to a simmer for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, dry fry your cumin seeds until the air begins to smell tasty. Remove the seeds from th epan. Use the remaining butter to fry the chilli and garlic until soft. Add back the cumin and remove from the heat.

When you are happy with your lentils, add the spices and set aside for at least 10 minutes to let the flavours mix.

Serve with bread or basmati rice.

This can be spiced up with more chilli or cooled down by serving with yoghurt. Some people will add tomato puree to the lentils or add fried onions to the top when they serve. IMG_0849

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