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Red Lentil Dal



  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. minced ginger root
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cored and diced
  • 1 to 2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced
  • salt to taste


  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro


  • Place the lentils in a medium sauce pan with the water, onion, cloves, ginger, tomato, and serrano chiles.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • While the lentils are cooking, combine the cumin seed and mustard seed in a small bowl. Combine the turmeric and paprika in another bowl.
  • Whisk the lentils with a balloon whisk to release some of their natural starch. The mixture will thicken. (Do not mix so much that all of the texture goes away – some split lentils should maintain their shape.)
  • Season with salt to taste.
  • In a small pan, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat.
  • When the oil is shimmering, add the cumin and mustard seeds. (Watch out, they may pop out of the pan).
  • Add the turmeric and paprika. Stir the spices – they will sizzle and bubble, but should not burn. After 30 seconds, remove from heat and pour into the lentil mixture.
  • Add the cilantro and stir to combine.
  • Serve plain or over rice.