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Chili Dhal

Chili Dhal

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This classic Indian side dish is spiced up with southwestern chili flavors.MORE+LESS-

Updated September 11, 2017


tablespoon mustard seed


tablespoon coriander seed


tablespoon ancho chile powder


tablespoon chipotle chile powder


can (28 oz) diced tomato

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  • 1

    Take the first 7 ingredients and heat them in a pan until fragrant. Blend in a spice grinder. Add the next 2 ingredients, Ancho and Chipotle powders.

  • 2

    Dice the onion, pepper and garlic, and run a knife through the black beans to cut them up a bit.

  • 3

    Saute the onions and peppers in some oil. After about 8 minutes, just before they start to brown, add the garlic. 1 minute later, add the can of tomatoes. Add the spices.

  • 4

    Rinse the lentils and add them. Add the black beans, honey, and turmeric.

  • 5

    Let simmer for about 15 minutes. Add water if you need to loosen it up.

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • When I cook "fusion" dishes, I don't try and force things to go together that don't belong together.I think that when chefs start doing that, people start to hate the whole idea of fusion. But fusion can be a beautiful thing, and many dishes from one culture are very similar to dishes from another. Culinary cousins, if you will.Enter the Indian dish Dhal. Dhal is a veggie and lentil side that is spooned over rice. Last time I ate Dhal, I thought to myself, This sort of reminds me of chili! So I cooked a Dhal recipe, slightly altering some ingredients and spices to make it taste like chili, and the results were fantastic!First you need to make a garam masala spice blend. The words garam masala literally translate to "hot mixture," but the hot doesn't necessarily mean burn your mouth, it means spice. All garam masalas are different -- today I made a cumin-coriander-mustard heavy mix, and used less clove and fenugreek than normal. This would help the dhal taste more like chili.Serve with Basmati Rice and enjoy!

Masoor Dal – Red Lentil Curry

We&rsquore making red lentil curry tonight in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen, my friends. Would you care for a bowl? We&rsquore in love with curries in general. As spicy food lovers, both of us can greatly appreciate the amount of flavor all those wonderful spices and seasonings bring to a seemingly simple pot of soup.

Patty and I were perusing a local Indian grocery store near us when I spotted this bag of masoor dal, which translates to &ldquored lentils&rdquo in English.

It practically leaped off of the shelf into my basket. So Masoor Dal Curry it is! Have you ever had it?

Masoor Dal, or Red Lentil Curry, is huge on flavor. I like to add in a lot of spices, with both curry powder and a red curry paste, but you can easily dial that back if you need to.

Also, this is my vegetarian version with a focus on the slightly sweet and nutty red lentils, along with potato which is a great filler, though you can very easily customize the recipe to your own personal tastes with other ingredients like squash, sweet potato or chickpeas.

Let&rsquos talk about we make masoor dal, or red lentil curry, shall we?

Sieve through the lentils with a colander or wire mesh strainer to remove any pebbles or debris. Some lentils that are sold in packets are free from this debris, although it is more expensive.

Rinse with water a few times to remove any dirt.

Soak the lentils in water for a few hours. You can even soak it up to six hours. It will soften the lentils and shorten the cooking time. You need to increase the cooking time if you do not soak it in advance.

Boil the lentils

Boil the lentils is an easy but crucial step. The key is to be patient.

The superbly cooked dhal should be creamy and thick the lentils still can be seen as individual pieces but incredibly soft. Lentil dhal should be cooked over low heat for a prolonged period to achieve this consistency.

How long it takes to get this consistently depends on the type of lentils, the initial amount of water, the duration for soaking the lentils, and the intensity of the heat.

The yellow lentils I use in this recipe takes about 45 minutes.

I soak the lentils for four hours before I started cooking it in this recipe.

Following these steps:

  • Bring the water to a boil. Use about three to four times of water by volume to cook the lentils. I use 800ml of water for 200g of lentils in this recipe. Add water whenever it is required.
  • Add the lentils to the boiling water, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Add one teaspoon of turmeric powder to it for additional flavor and color.
  • Skim off any scum floating on the surface, or the dhal can turn bitter.
  • Cook until it turns soft, which will take about forty-five minutes.

If the lentils are still hard after forty-five minutes, add some hot water and continue to simmer until it turns homogenous and creamy. The thickness can vary from a thin soup to a thick congee, according to your desire.

Season the dahl with salt

Remember we add the water initially and simmer for forty-five minutes? The reason I only add salt at the stage is to avoid it becomes too salty. It is hard to estimate the amount of salt required without knowing the final volume of the dhal.

Stock or water?

It may seem logical using vegetable stock to replace water to enhance the flavor of the dhal. On the other hand, the myriad of herbs and spices and the lentils have a strong flavor that makes the stock redundant.

Therefore, I only use water to cook the dhal in this recipe.

Easy Red Lentil Dhal

I have already made this twice in 2 weeks! Easiest dahl I have ever made and super delicious. Will be making this often!

I just made lentils, like, last week.

Here’s what actually happened. This lentil dhal recipe happened accidentally while I was trying to make the squash lentil curry, so it was like two for the price of one! I’ve always been a sucker for time savers and extra food.

I bought red lentils, thinking they would look better in my squash lentil curry. First mistake: squash lentil curry is just meant to look a certain way and there’s nothing you can do about that.

Second mistake: red lentils are not the same as brown lentils.

What are these little red treasures, and why I am just trying them now? Technically they were French (thank you, random Filipino imports) because they were called lentilles corale. Is that French? I renamed them dhal because that’s their Indian name and I like to make things into curry. I don’t know, I just mostly Wikipedia stuff.

These little lentils are split, so they are teeny tiny compared to the regular old brown lentil, which means they cook SUPER FAST, which means you get to eat sooner. #win

Unlike brown lentils, these red lentils cook almost effortlessly into something like a soup or sauce. So instead of trying to make them into squash lentil curry, I started adding some yummy things to them so that I could eat them. Immediately.

Coconut milk. Curry paste. Spices.

HELLO. They were so, so good and they probably took me fifteen minutes to make from start to finish. Bjork and I both had a heaping scoop over rice, twice, for three days in a row.

Serves 4 | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Total time: 35 minutes


– 3 cloves of garlic- minced
– 1 small onion – chopped
– 1-inch piece of ginger- minced
– 1 small red chili pepper- finely chopped (optional)
– 1 tbs coconut oil
– 1.5 teaspoon turmeric powder
– 1.5 teaspoon curry powder
– 1.5 teaspoon cumin powder
– 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1 400g can of diced tomatoes
– 2 cups washed red lentils
– 6 cups water or vegetable stock

– Chopped coriander
– Plain coconut yogurt
– Cherry Tomatoes

– Heat the oil in a large pot* over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, ginger and chili pepper before cooking for 5 minutes until onion is softened. Add spices and stir well. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.

– Add washed and drained lentils, diced tomatoes, and water or stock. Stir before covering to cook over low/medium heat for 30-35 minutes until lentils are soft and the dhal has the consistency of porridge, add more water as necessary.

– Serve topped with a sprinkle of salt, chopped coriander and any sides of your choice.

*If you have a cast iron pot, such as a Le Creuset, this is perfect- however, any large pot will do.
Leftovers can be frozen and enjoyed anytime.

Tips to make chana dal

Onions: I have used a small onion. You can skip that. There would be no change in the taste as such.

Tomatoes: You can either use chopped tomatoes or pureed tomatoes as per your convenience. In most of our foods, I usually puree the tomatoes and use since the skin of the tomatoes don&rsquot go well with my kids.

Spices: I keep the usage of spices and spice powders to the minimum in dal recipes as I prefer the flavor of dal than the spices. However more whole spices can be used in the tempering like bay leaf and a small cinnamon stick.

Soaking: To avoid stomach upset and bloating in toddlers & kids, it is always good to soak chana dal for at least 4 to 6 hours and then use in this chana dal recipe.

However soaking for at least 30 mins to 1 hour in hot water is crucial to cook the lentils fast.


1yellow onion(s)
1 tbspoil
1red onion
1 tspgrated ginger
1garlic clove
1⁄2 tbspturmeric powder
250 gred lentils
1 1⁄2 lwater
2fresh green chili
2curry leaves
1⁄2 tbspsalt

Step 1 of 4

Heat oil over medium heat and sauté sliced red onions until golden brown. Remove onions from pan and leave aside.

Step 2 of 4

Using the same pan, fry chopped white onion, minced garlic, grated ginger and curry leaves until fragrant. Add diced tomato. Cover pan with the lid to allow tomatoes to soften.

Step 3 of 4

Chop carrot, potato, eggplant into bite-size pieces. Add them into the pot along with turmeric powder, sliced chili, curry leaves and red lentils. Add water and cook over high heat.

Once it boils, lower heat to the minimum and simmer for about 30 minutes or until dhal softens. Keep stirring from time to time to prevent curry from being burnt. Add salt to taste. Finally, stir in fried red onions. Serve with basmati rice and coconut yogurt.

Basic tarka dhal recipe

Absolutely essential ingredients

  • 400g red lentils
  • 2 tsps turmeric
  • 2 knobs unsalted butter
  • 2 tsps cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1-2 fresh green chillies, finely sliced (remove seeds if you want to keep the heat down)

Optional (recommended) extras

  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 2-3 tomatoes, chopped small

Place the lentils in a pan and cover with enough cold water to come to around two inches above their surface. Bring to the boil (skim off any scum that rises to the top), and reduce to a simmer. Stir in the turmeric and a generous knob of butter. Cover and leave to cook gently.

In a small frying pan, dry-fry the cumin seeds over a medium heat until toasted and fragrant (no more than a couple of minutes). Remove from the pan and set to one side.

Melt a second knob of butter in the same frying pan and gently fry the chopped garlic, onion, chillies and the grated ginger and tomatoes, if you’re using them. Once the garlic is golden, mix in the toasted cumin seeds and, if using, the garam masala and ground coriander. Remove from the heat until the lentils are completely softened.

Give the lentils a good stir. They should have the consistency of porridge – thicker than soup and looser than houmous. Add more water as necessary (you will be surprised how thick they can get over just a couple of extra minutes cooking), and mix in your aromatic fried mixture.

Season to taste, then serve on its own, topped with coriander, or with a side of basmati rice and greens.

So simple, so quick, so good.

About the author

Merlin worked in editorial for Jamie's online team. As well as food, he really, really likes coffee.


  • 1 cup masoor dhal
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ¼ of large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp green chili, chopped
  • 3 inches pandan leaf, fresh or dry (optional)
  • 1 handful curry leaves, fresh or dry (optional)
  • 2 whole cardamom pods, split open
  • 1 whole clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp unroasted curry powder
  • ½ stick Ceylon cinnamon, broken up by hand
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ - 1 cup full fat coconut milk (use the higher quantity if you want a soupy consistency)
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)

Red Lentil Dhal

This dhal has a very simple texture and yet is intricately and authentically flavored with Indian spices. If you have never tried dhal before, this recipe will make it a memorable experience. Take the opportunity to experiment with the amount of chili flakes you add according to how spicy you like your food. With or without the extra spice, it is a delightful companion to basmati rice.

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp black mustard seed
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 two-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups of red lentils
  • 6 cups of water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1½ cups Swiss chard, washed and chopped
  • Sliced lemons to garnish
  1. In a medium pot, add olive oil and sauté spices.
  2. Add garlic, onion and ginger and let cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes and let cook for a few more minutes.
  4. Add water, lentils and salt. Raise to high heat till boiling, then lower to simmer and cook until lentils are tender.
  5. Add tomato paste and chard. Stir to combine. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Can use more or less water for desired thickness. Serve with lemon slices.

Watch the video: Chilly. FHD. (July 2022).


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