Total Time
1hr 5mins
Prep 20 mins
Cook 45 mins

Don't let the word "Simple" fool you; it's a fairly easy recipe to make, but results in the loveliest of flavor complexities. The mashed garlic, cloves and cinnamon give the lentils a lovely, warm aftertaste and a heavenly fragrance. Whole spices are cooked in a bit of oil to infuse it with their flavor before the lentils are added and a fresh tempering oil is also used to finish the dish. This can be a of a stew-like consistency or like a soup depending on your preference. Add more water to thin, less to thicken. Puree a bit of the lentils for a smoother dal. Really nice over basmati rice! This was my second attempt at making a dal and my first *successful* one. ;) The recipe, (courtesy of acclaimed chef and cooking teacher, Suvir Saran), calls for pink lentils (dhuli masoor dal), but I used split yellow (mung or moong without the hulls and split).

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Heat the oil with the cinnamon stick in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the cinnamon unfurls, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add the cumin, cloves and cardamom and cook, stirring, until the cumin turns a golden brown color, about 1 more minute. Add the lentils, turmeric, water and salt. Bring to a boil and skim well. Turn down the heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are soft, 20-30 minutes. Add more water during cooking if necessary. Taste for salt and add more if you need to.
  3. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the lentils into a small bowl and mash them with a spoon (optional). Return the mashed lentils to the pot and give the dal a stir. Continue cooking at a simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes to thicken. If you like a thicker dal, use a whisk to break up the lentils into a puree. If you like a thinner dal, add water. Remove the cinnamon stick (and cardamom pods, if you like).
  4. For the tempering oil, heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it just begins to brown around the edges, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic paste, ginger and minced chile and cook just to mellow the raw taste of the garlic, 10-15 *seconds*.
  5. Stir half of the tempering oil into the dal along with half of the cilantro and all of the lemon or lime juice. Simmer very gently for 5 minutes. Transfer the dal to a serving bowl, pour the remaining tempering oil over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cilantro. Serve hot with additional lemon or lime juice to taste.


Most Helpful

This is my favourite, absolutely lovely. I put cumin powder in as well as seeds (by mistake) and it added to it. After a few days in the fridge it was even better!

paulscully5 February 13, 2016

This is the best tasting dal recipe I have ever used. I did used ground cardamom and cinnamon along with yellow dal. The flavor was great

elsierao July 30, 2015

Just made this for dinner tonight. I loved the flavors of this dish--I didn't have cloves and left it out and used ground cinnamon. Great, easy-to-follow directions. We had this as a main, and 3 hungry people gobbled it up. Will be having this again soon!

Pancakee October 10, 2010

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