Vegan Month of Food | 6. Easy Indian Cooking – Lentil Dahl

Easy Indian Cooking - Lentil Dahl

Dahl is a pretty much a staple over at our home.   We give it added flavor and color by adding carrots and/or greens – collard, kale, spinach, etc, each time we cook it.  Traditional South Indian dahl has mustard and cumin seeds, while in the North, you would probably find just ground cumin or a dash of the Indian Garam Masala.  There is yet another version that we know – which is the Konkani Dalitoy. Its more like a consomme but has mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chilies floating on the surface.  Though that’s our ‘go to’ dahl recipe, we also cook a simple and easy version, that has the influence of Northern Indian cooking.

Vegan, Gluten Free Easy Lentil Dahl

In place of the cumin seeds and I use ground cumin and ground coriander.  The recipe is completely devoid of any mustard seeds. (Mustard is good to have but not a necessary or a critical part of the recipe)

Vegan Easy Lentil Dahl

For added flavor I cook garlic, ginger, tomatoes and onions along with the lentils; and later using a hand-held blender combine them all together when the lentils are done and soft.  This recipe is oil-free, but onions sautéed in canola oil, till golden, could be added if preferred.  For aroma, I use quarter cup of dried fenugreek leaves for the entire recipe.  This should be used sparingly, as the dahl can get bitter if used generously.

This recipe for dahl could be used for both red and yellow lentils.

GlutenFree Easy Lentil Dahl

Lentil Dahl


1 cup yellow lentils, rinsed (make sure to pick over to remove any debris), soaked in 2 cups of water for about an hour. (This helps to cook the lentils faster)

1 medium-sized onion, chopped

½ cup tomatoes, diced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 green chili, finely chopped

¼ cup dried fenugreek leaves (optional)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

Kosher Salt


Drain the lentils and place in a 2-quart stock-pot in 2 cups of water. Bring to boil uncovered on medium heat.  Skim off any foam.

Add onions, tomatoes, chili, ginger, garlic into the pot and stir.  Cook covered until the lentils have softened and are completely cooked, 45-50 minutes.

Once the lentils are ready (soft and tender), add ground cumin, coriander, turmeric and salt. Stir well and cook on low for 5 minutes.

Using a hand-held immersion blender puree the lentil mixture (OR let cool slightly, transfer to a blender and puree).

If the dahl gets too thick, add water ½ cup at a time to get the desired consistency.

Add the dried fenugreek leaves.  Mix well and serve on a bed of warm rice or as a soup.

NOTE:  Any kind of dahl when stored at room temperature or refrigerated can thicken on its own.  While re-heating, add water to get the desired consistency. 


3 To 5 servings


Other Vegan MoFo posts:

A)  Theme  for Vegan MoFo is all things vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and Chocolate.

Mexican Chocolate Cake with Almonds

Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts

Chocolate – Tart with Banana & Pomegranate

- Chocolate & Nut Butter Fudge (no bake)

- Coconut Macaroons with Cocoa