Indian Yellow Dal: Comfort Food in a Bowl


One reason people love experimenting with ethnic cuisine is trying out new spices, combinations of foods you usually don’t eat together or using a different mode of preparation.

That’s why even simple dishes from a different kitchen seem extraordinary in comparison with what we’re used to making.

Today’s Yellow Dal recipe is full of flavor, nutrients, and fiber that will both soothe your hunger and your soul. Experiment with the amount and blends of spices to find a combination you’ll truly love.

What is Yellow Dal?

Yellow Dal is a dish found across Southern Asia. Dal in itself is a term used to name different types of dried legumes, and Yellow Dal is a stew-like dish made of cooked lentils and many different spices.

This recipe uses yellow lentils, but you can choose any kind you like (brown, red or black lentils). Cooking time is different for each kind (with red lentils requiring the shortest amount of cooking), and a definite plus is that you don’t need to soak them overnight.

So, let’s cook!

The Recipe


  • 1 1/2 cup yellow lentils
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large tomato


  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp turmeric (powder)
  • 1 tsp ginger root (fresh or ginger root powder)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp chili powder (or 3-4 whole chili peppers)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander


  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil


  1. Wash your lentils in plenty of cold water. Sift through to remove any skins or unwanted pieces. Now put them in a medium-sized pot and add tomato and 4 cups water. Bring to boil.
  2. Lower the setting to medium heat.
  3. Mix all your spices in a bowl. In a pan, heat coconut and olive oil and add chopped onion and garlic. Sautée until soft and translucent.
  4. Throw your mix of spices into the pan and stir well. Leave until the spices start releasing their fragrance.
  5. Mix spices and lentils in the same pot. Continue cooking on low heat for 5 minutes, until the lentils soaked up all the flavor.
  6. Optional: cook rice as a side dish and serve warm.


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