Indian food is so rich and full of flavour. I am sure I don’t do it justice but I still have a whirl with the easier stuff. This is one of those easier recipes. It is a great starter recipe to build your confidence.

The lentils are great for protein and fibre. The tomatoes, onion, and spinach means we have lots of veggies in there even if you don’t manage to add in a salad or sides.

The coconut milk is high in fat so you can choose to switch it our for soya milk instead. The coconut milk is mostly about adding a level of creaminess. Soya milk can’t pull off the whole creaminess that the coconut milk adds but if you are avoiding oils this would be a good alternative. Another alternative could be plain soya yogurt which would probably give the creaminess but is a bit more processed. You need to consider what is best for you or maybe experiment with each option and see which one works best.



  • 400g Red Lentil
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 800g chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 800ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp garlic puree
  • 1 tsp ginger puree
  • 1-2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 large handfuls of chopped fresh spinach


Step 1: Saute your onion in water or stock until soft. Add in the garlic, ginger, pepper and curry powder. Sautés another minute or so.

Step 2: Add in the tomatoes, coconut milk, vegetable stock and lentils. Bring to a boil then reduce to a low heat. Stir it often as those little lentils love to stick to the bottom. Cook until the lentils are soft with no bit left to them.

Step 3: Add in the garam masala, lemon juice and spinach. Give it a good stir through so all the spinach is wilted down into the lentils.

Serve: I served ours with rice this time but it is awesome with my naan or over a baked potato as well. I also felt a need for more veg that night. My solution was to cook up some pressed mushrooms (see below). Those smoky, meaty mushrooms lent a new flavour to the dhal that took it to another level. Another great addition to this would have been a good salad or maybe some curried cauliflower. That said, I will be doing a side of mushrooms everytime from now on.

Smoky Mushrooms

  • 10 – 15 white mushrooms (or a similar amount of whatever you have or like)
  • 2 tsp liquid seasoning (liquid smoke)
  • 1 -2 tsp black pepper

When I do this I start off the frying pan with a little bit of stock to get the mushrooms (ripped up) cooking. Put the seasonings on from the start. Now put a heavy pan inside your other frying pan on top of the mushrooms to crush those things down. I use a cast iron pan usually but I was using that pan for the lentils. This time I used the back of my wooden spoon and just kept squashing the mushrooms as flat as I can. The idea of this method is to get pretty much all of the water out of the mushrooms so they get a more meaty texture but it also helps bring out that smoky flavour more as well. Cook those shrooms until they are just about dry.

I show the mushrooms on the side and that is how my husband ate his but I mixed mine into the dhal. I highly recommend them in the dhal if you like mushrooms. If you are not a mushroom person that is ok though. Just have your dhal without.

This recipe only takes about 30 minutes to make. It is warm and nutritious. It is like a big hug from the inside. Enjoy and let me know how you get on. Do you have alternative ways of doing this?

2 responses to “Dhal”

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