Creamy spiced dhal

Creamy spiced dhal

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(9 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 55 mins


Serves 4
Dhal is super-easy and cheap to make - plus lentils are really good for you, so it's a winner from all sides

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan


  • kcal478
  • fat16g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs63g
  • sugars5g
  • fibre6g
  • protein26g
  • salt0.38g


  • 2 tsp mustard seed
  • 2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 onion, finely diced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2½ cm fresh root ginger, grated



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 7 cardamom pods
  • 400g red lentil, rinsed and drained



    The lentil plant (Lens Culinaris) originates from Asia and North Africa and is one of our oldest…

  • 400ml can reduced-fat coconut milk
    Coconut milk in a glass, with half a coconut

    Coconut milk

    ko-ko-nut mill-k

    Coconut milk is not the slightly opaque liquid that flows from a freshly opened coconut –…


  1. In a large saucepan, on a low heat, toast the mustard and cumin seeds until they give off a nutty aroma; be careful not to burn them. Set aside in a bowl. In the same pan, heat the oil over a low heat and soften the onion, garlic and ginger with the cardamom pods for 10 mins, adding a little water if they look like they might burn.

  2. Tip the lentils and toasted seeds into the pan, then stir for a couple of mins before pouring in the coconut milk and enough water to cover it all well. Bring to the boil, immediately cover the pan, turn it down to a low heat and leave to simmer for about 45 mins, stirring every now and then to make sure the mixture is not sticking. If it starts to become too thick, add a little more water. Serve with warmed pitta bread.

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Comments, questions and tips

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11th Aug, 2014
I thought this recipe was bland, even with extra dried chilli flakes in it, I won't be making it again
27th Aug, 2013
I made the dahl this afternoon, I added some dried chilli flakes and some salt in the beginning and a tsp of garam masala towards the end. It was delicious! As other people have mentioned, it needed more water and stirring to stop the lentils from sticking to the pan.
25th Jun, 2013
I made this the other day and it came out wonderfully! I used half of the lentils suggested, and probably more water than stated in the recipe, but it worked :D Here's my blog with the result I will definitely make this again :D There are some pretty neat dahl recipes here on BBC food :)
11th Feb, 2013
Lovely recipe but needed a bit of salt adding to it, next time I'll do this during the cooking. Also, it produced a huge quantity!
10th Oct, 2012
I didn't particularly rate this recipe, it's stodgy and not that tasty. I probably wouldn't make it again.
14th Mar, 2011
I made the dhal to go with a spiced fish recipe, but this was the star of the show. It was very easy to make, but you need more than just 'enough water to cover', at least one pint over the 45 minutes simmering time. It needs to be stirred often to stop it sticking. Delicious!
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