The best dahl recipe that I have found has been the easiest to prepare. It just makes my mouth water thinking about it. All it takes are some basic ingredients that are easy to store in your pantry and a few fresh ingredients that are easy to buy at your local grocery store.
basic dahl ingredient
The humble lentil is the key ingredient in this delicious dish. Lentils are a staple food in India, Iran, and Ethiopia and it is from here that we have learned how to make this simple, nutritious and tasty dish. In these countries, it is part of their daily diet.
In the west, it is most often used in soups and salads. This is changing for us though because we love making this dish. We now don’t have to wait till we visit an Indian friend or restaurant before we can enjoy it.
It is surprising to find out that it is grown in Canada, India, the USA, Turkey, Australia, Kazakhstan, and Nepal. This fascinates me and now I am on the hunt for a recipe from each of those countries.
If you have a good recipe from one of these countries, leave a message in the comments and share your recipe.
This is what I love about real food. Each continent or country takes a simple ingredient and makes a beautiful dish out of it.
I love to learn how to make these dishes because I cannot always travel to those countries. Dahl or dal has such a beautiful distinct earthy flavor. If you have not tried it yet. Try this recipe, it is a good place to begin.
Lentils are inexpensive and nutritious. We always have some in our pantry because they are so easy to store. I have used both the red and the green/brown lentils and they both are delicious.
a little bit more about the lentil
Lentils are also used to make papadums. They use the flour made from the lentils to make papadums. This is such a versatile ingredient that we are just starting to learn how to cook with and to enjoy. Very often papadoms are fried in their preparation but we have learned of a trick how to cook them without frying.
We lay them out on a plate, only one layer thick and not touching one another.
I usually put three in at a time.
We microwave them!
This is a brilliant solution to get this done very quickly.
I only cook them for one minute at a time.
They are always cooked through and crispy.
it works, give it a try.
to make the best dahl recipe you’ll need
These are the main ingredients that we use to make our dahl delicious.
- oil or butter (olive or sunflower oil)
- fresh chili/jalapeno
- cloves of garlic
The spices are next.
- *curry powder or **garam masala
*Curry powder is a combination of coriander, cumin, turmeric, black pepper, chili powder, and dried ginger.
**Garam masala is a combination of spices like cinnamon, mace, peppercorns, coriander, cumin, and cardamon.
These are the basics for these two spice combinations but each and every Indian family they have perfected the quantities to their taste preferences.
The extras that can be added in can go on forever, here are a few options.
- curry leaves
- mustard seeds
- coconut milk
- cubed potatoes
how to make the best dahl recipe
Here is what I was taught to do and what I do. I mostly use sunflower oil but have also used butter (I think ghee would even be better) and olive oil. Use what you have and what you’d prefer.
- Heat up the oil in a large pot with a solid base, and then add in the chopped onions. Heat the oil up on a high heat and then when you add in the onions turn it down to medium. Be patient here. Cook the onions till they are translucent and you think they are about to turn brown. You really do want to draw out their delicious flavor.
- Add into this onion and oil mixture the spices and mustard seeds. Enjoy the aromas. It is at this point that you feel you cannot wait for the dahl to finish cooking.
- Now is a great time to add in the tomatoes that you have chopped up. This will make a beautiful base of delicious flavours for when you add in the lentils.
- As the onions, spices and tomatatoes are gently cooking and turning delicious wash the lentils.
- The lentils can be measured out and put into a sieve, wash them over running water.
- Just before you add the lentils into the mixture please do not forget to add in the garlic and the fresh ginger.
- Add in the washed lentils and the measured out stock or water.
- Once everything is bubbling nicely, turn down the heat and let the dahl simmer.
- It is done when the lentils are soft.
- 1 chopping board
- 1 sharp knife
- 1 large pot
- 1 garlic press
- 2 yellow onions
- 1 tbsp oil or butter
- 1 tsp mustard seed
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 chili
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cm fresh ginger
- 1 cups lentils
- 4 cups water or broth
- 1 small bunch fresh coriander leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- a few curry leaves
- Heat up the oil or butter in a large pot on a medium to high heat.
- Chop up the onion into small pieces.
- Lower the heat a bit.
- Fry together until the onions are translucent and possible about to turn brown.
- Add in the mustard seeds, cumin, turmeric, curry leaves and the 2 chopped up tomatoes. Cook until aromas combine and it smells delicious.
- Add in the grated ginger, the thinly sliced chili and the crushed garlic cloves. Stir through thoroughly.
- Rinse the lentils that you have put in a sieve. Run water over the lentils till they are clean.
- Add the rinsed lentils to the pot and give it a good stir while adding in the water or broth.
- Bring it to the boil then turn it down and let it simmer.
- It is done when the lentils are soft.
- Chop up the small bunch of cilantro.
- Add half of the chopped up cilantro to the pot just before serving.
- The rest of the chopped up cilantro can be added as garnish and to individual taste.
- coconut milk
- more chili/less chili
to finish off the best dahl recipe
This is where your adventure and experimentation can begin. One basic ingredient to add in though is fresh coriander leaves. They are delicious and complete this dish. Chop up a small bunch of coriander leaves, put half into the mixture just before you serve it, and the rest in a bowl. Everyone can then top their meal off with some fresh coriander leaves.
The other Red Lentil Dahl recipe that I love to try out is from Mealime. They add coconut milk to the recipe and it is delicious. Have a look and give it a try. It brings a totally different taste experience from what we have had before. It is easy to make and is full of fresh ingredients too.
When I am not cooking our family favorites, I love using the Mealime app. I travel with it and I shop with it. Give it a try, I think you will like it. No, this is not a sponsored link just a useful tip;)
To the delicious recipe now. Enjoy making this simple, nutritious, and delicious recipe.
Let me know in the comments if it was a winner for you too.