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easy red lentil dal recipe by Sneaky Veg

Easy red lentil dal

A mild and easy red lentil dal recipe that the whole family can enjoy. Suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword red lentil dal
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 2 adults
Author Mandy Mazliah


  • 1 cup red lentils (200g)
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger peeled and finely chopped
  • Dried red chillis chopped to taste, or leave them out altogether if serving to small children or babies
  • 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes or 4-5 fresh tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder
  • salt and pepper to taste, optional


  1. Place the lentils in a saucepan and cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until cooked. Add more water as necessary and stir regularly to avoid sticking. The red lentils usually take about 15-20 minutes but different types will take longer so adjust accordingly.

  2. Heat some oil in a large frying pan. Add the cumin seeds and fry for a minute or so until starting to turn brown. 

  3. Add the onion, stir and cook gently for around 10 minutes until soft. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli then add the turmeric and stir well. Add the tomatoes. Cook for a further five minutes before adding the garam masala and curry powder.

  4. Add the lentils when cooked through and stir well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The longer you leave this the better so make in advance or even the day before if you have time.

  5. Serve with rice and/or bread. Enjoy!