Red lentil Daal

I’m pretty sure I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t like daal. So I thought I best get a daal recipe up, seeing as it is such a simple dish and requires little ingredients and is also very adaptable. Another plus side to a daal is that it can feed many and it is easy on the ol’ purse strings. We often have a daal alongside another curry, which feels indulgent but we never regret it! It’s a good one for when you have guests over and you want to serve up a whole curry feast! It is also great for lunch the next day, in fact, always tastes better the next day in my opinion.

There are many different types and varieties of a daal but once you know the essentials, it’s easy to throw one together. You can make daal without coconut milk, but I really love the creaminess of using coconut milk with lentils. It is also a very forgiving recipe, you can for example swap one of the spices for garam masala if you don’t have the ones listed. You can also add more or less chilli to your liking and if you don’t have the mustard seeds you can leave these out too and it will still be delicious. Here is my recipe which I discovered one day through experimenting with the spices in the kitchen…

Red Lentil Daal

An easy, comforting lentil curry dish. Bursting with flavour and warmth.

Course Dinner, Lunch
Keyword curry, daal, lentils
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes


  • 2 Tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 thumb ginger
  • 1 red chilli or pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 300 g dried red lentils
  • 300 ml veg stock
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Peel and dice the onion, garlic and ginger. Rinse the lentils through a sieve and set to one side. Then heat the oil in a pan on a medium heat, add the mustard seeds and cover with a lid until they have mostly stopped popping (about 30 seconds). Then add in the onions, ginger and chilli along with a pinch of salt and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened.

  2. Next, add the garlic and stir for two more minutes whilst you prepare the veg stock. Then add all the spices to the pan, followed by the tomato puree and mix it all together and cook through for a minute or so.

  3. Add the lentils to the pan and stir though until incorporated. Then add the stock, coconut milk and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Give it a good stir and then cook uncovered on a simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the lentils have lost their bite, occasionally giving it a stir.

  4. When the lentils are soft, squeeze over the juice of half a lemon and then give it a taste. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve as it is with a slice of lemon on the side, or with rice and/or bread, or as a side dish to a big curry experience! Enjoy.