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Black Dhal

Prep Time:

50 Minutes

Cook Time:

50 Minutes


2-3 Servings



About the Recipe

Brown lentils, also known as "ordinary" or "green" lentils, these legumes have a mild earthy flavour that pairs nicely with other ingredients like carrots, celery, potatoes and onions in curries. Brown lentils are also great on their own with just a bit of olive oil or butter added at the end of cooking time if needed (they'll still be slightly firm).


2 large tomatoes - 40g (thumb sized) ginger - 3-4 -garlic cloves - green chillies - 100g brown lentils -2 tsp garam masala - 1/2 tsp chilli powder -1 tsp turmeric - 50ml milk or cream (dairy, coconut or soy) - butter or an alternative vegan option (20g) - salt


  1. Wash the lentils thoroughly with lukewarm water until the water runs clear. You may need to rinse them up to 5 times. Pick over to remove debris or shrivelled lentils, then drain.

  2. Add your lentils to a pan. Add 1L of boiling water and cover with lid, and simmer under medium heat for 30 mins.

  3. Peel and finely grate all the garlic and ginger and transfer both to a bowl (if you have a food processor, you can chop the ginger and garlic into small pieces and blend to a puree, adding a splash of water to help the process).

  4. Wash the tomatoes, finely chop, grate or blend (using a food processor) and transfer this to your bowl.

  5. After boiling your lentils, remove them from the heat and check that the lentils are tender. If they are still hard, return to heat and continue to simmer until done. Then, carefully drain off the water.

  6. Add garam masala, turmeric and red chilli powder to your bowl containing ginger, garlic and tomato and mix.

  7. Add the contents of your bowl to the pan with your drained lentils on medium heat and mix well.

  8. Add 200ml of boiling water to your pan and stir. Cover with a lid and simmer on low-medium heat for a further 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  9. Add 20g of butter and stir. You can replace this with a vegan-friendly option or add 1 tablespoon of sunflower/vegetable oil. Add salt to taste.

  10. Add 50ml of cream or milk or vegan alternative. Gently simmer on low heat for a further 3 minutes.

  11. If you prefer more sauce in your curries, you can add a small amount of boiling water to the dish (if required). Taste test for the level of chilli and salt, adding more if required.

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