Versatile, tasty, inexpensive and comforting

When you need a meat-free, easy vegetarian dish, look no further than an easy, comforting dal.

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  10 – 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 – 30 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Ideal for: midweek meal, easy meal, vegetarian, meat-free


There are infinite ways to prepare dal and recipes tend to be regionally specific.

From spicy and tangy sambar in Tamil Nadu to creamy and luxurious dal makhani in Delhi.

Dal preparation varies widely from region to region.

You can enjoy it as a main dish or have it as an accompaniment.

Easy, comforting dal

Here’s a nice simple dal recipe from BBC Good Food.

If you want an even faster dal dish, switch out dried lentils for tinned lentils and start at step 2, adding the coconut milk first then the lentils.


  •         200g red lentils (*or 1 – 2 tinned lentils)
  •         ½ tsp turmeric
  •         2 garlic cloves, peeled and kept whole
  •         250ml coconut milk
  •         25g butter
  •         1 tbsp oil
  •         10 fresh curry leaves
  •         1 tsp black mustard seeds
  •         pinch of dried red chilli, thinly sliced
  •         1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  •         salt, to taste


  1. Wash the lentils several times in clean water to remove the starch (or if using tinned lentils, rinse the lentils and jump to step 3 adding the garlic and turmeric here).
  2. Place the lentils in a large saucepan and add 500ml water, turmeric and garlic. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for around 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes or until the lentils are cooked and the dal has thickened. Season to taste with salt.
  4. In a separate small frying pan, melt the butter with the oil on a low heat. Add the curry leaves, mustard seeds and chilli. Gently fry for 1–2 minutes, then add the onion and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring all the time until the onions are golden and caramelised.
  5. Add this mixture to the lentils and stir together. Remove the garlic cloves before serving.

For more vegetarian recipes, visit here.

Easy, comforting dal