1 hour

    I actually learnt this in the kitchen of a seasoned Indian homecook! Traditional fragrant dish with toor dal, ginger, chilli, tomatoes, cumin and garlic.

    186 people made this

    Serves: 6 

    • 500g (1 1/4 lb) toor dal
    • 600ml (1 pint) water
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh root ginger
    • 1/4 green chilli, diced
    • 1 tomato, diced
    • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 1 dessertspoon vegetable oil
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 1 pinch chilli powder
    • 1 pinch asafoetida
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • handful chopped fresh coriander

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Ready in:1hr 

    1. Rinse toor dal; soak in water for 30 minutes.
    2. Heat dhal and water with salt until boiling. Reduce heat to medium and cook 15 to 20 minutes, until tender and thickened. Add more water, if necessary, to prevent drying out.
    3. To the cooked dal, add ginger, chilli, tomato, lemon juice and turmeric. Continue simmering.
    4. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and add cumin seeds, chilli powder, asafoetida and garlic; stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir mixture into dal and add coriander; mix well.


    Toor dal, or yellow pigeon peas, will be available at any Asian shop. You can also use yellow split peas in a pinch.

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    Reviews in English (82)


    A great basic dahl recipe. It can also be enhanced with all manner of vegetable matter to round out your diet: diced broccoli, sweetcorn kernels, red/green/yellow pepper, chopped fennel, plus more. We call it the enthusiastic dahl--because we can put everything we've got into it. Adding garam masala towards the end of cooking increases flavour without heat. Lightly toasting dry chilli powder at the start in oil likewise increases flavour without increasing the heat factor as much as adding it later would. Adding a small tin of coconut milk during cooking will enrich the flavour for festive occasions and/or provide much-needed fats for (thinner) vegetarians. The dahl can also be garnished with lime juice and tabasco sauce as well as some chopped coriander. Chapatti fried in butter makes a nice accompaniment and alternative to the basmati rice or brown rice standard.  -  15 Sep 2008


    Used different ingredients. I concur -- this is "Yummy". It helps that I already love Indian food. What I learned from this recipe: - substitutions work well: I used the limes of 4 whole limes (3 TB) not lemon - I did not use asafoejida or anything to substitute for it - I used coconut oil to make this makers-diet-friendly, but it probably added to the flavour, and finally - the one part of this recipe that made this dish more "Indian" in the sense of "like the Indian restaurants I frequent" was adding cumin to the oil. When I did that, it was instantly flavoured and scented like I imagines it should be. Bon Appetit!  -  15 Sep 2008


    I'd never tried toor dal before but I was pleasantly surprised - the recipe is delicious! I'm surprised how quickly these lentils cook, and they're far nicer than the red lentils I'm accustomed to using in my 'culinary adventures'. I made a few tweaks, however. I used half the amount of toor dal and replaced the other half with onion and mushrooms. I also used chilli oil instead of fresh green chilli and chilli powder. And I added more turmeric as my mum is convinced that it is the elixir of life and it should be eaten in copious amounts at every opportunity. Other than that, I followed the recipe pretty closely. I think it's very adaptable, and will be adding it to my repertoire from now on!  -  25 Mar 2012