The Humble Dal – Lentil Curry

In my opinion, no amount of fancy or gourmet food can give the comfort of a humble bowl of dal or lentil curry as you may know it. A staple in the Indian homes, this easy to make dish teamed with boiled or steamed rice is going to satiate you like no other.

On days when I don’t want to pull off a large meal or rather if I feel lazy, this is the dish to make! Simply start by soaking a cup of dal. Since there is a large variety of these, I simply go for toor dal or pigeon pea. I love the flavor of it.

Start by washing the dal thoroughly and soak for between 30 -60mins.

Dal 1
Soaked dal for about 30mins to an hour.

Add this soaked dal to a pot with garlic, cumin and olive oil with about 2.5 cups of water and allow it to cook for 450 minutes on low flame. Alternatively (what I do), use a pressure cooker to cook dal which is done is about 15 minutes.

I like my dal smooth. if you like your dal whole then head straight to tempering. If not, you may use a hand blender to smoothen your dal.
I am a bit old school and I like using the wooden hand blender, also famously called the ghotni in India. It keeps your dal coarse and a texture that brings back wonderful childhood memories. Besides the family loves it this way, easy!

Dal 2
That wooden blender
Dal 3
Rotate between palms of your hands

Prepare your tempering –

Dal 4
Tempering – In oil add cumin, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, red chili powder and a whole red chili.

Add tempering to your dal, give it a stir and serve hot with white rice.

Dal 5



  • 1 cup – Toor dal soaked and washed for over 30 mins
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp – Olive oil
  • 1 tsp – Cumin or zeera
  • 2.5 cups – Water
  • Salt to taste

For tempering 

  • 1 tsp each of – cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, red chili powder
  • 1 whole dry red chilli
  • 2 tbsp Ghee



  • Cook your soaked dal with garlic, cumin seeds, olive oil and water till done. Once done, blend with hand blender if you like smooth or leave it whole if you prefer.
  • For the tempering, add all the items for tempering to a pan and wait till they splutter. Add the tempering to cooked dal and give it a stir.
  • Serve hot with white rice.




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