Curried Red Lentil Dhal by Chef Michael Smith

Curried Red Lentil Dhal

If you like the flavours of Indian curry you’ll love dhal, essentially curried lentil puree served over rice. Red lentils are skinless and split so as they simmer they easily dissolve into a puree. Pour the fragrant sauce over rice and you’ll see why this is one of the worlds tastiest and most popular lentil dishes!


  • 2 cups (500 mL) basmati or any white rice
  • 3 cups (750 mL) water
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
  • ¼ cup (65 mL) butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) cumin
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) curry powder
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) water
  • 2 cups (500 mL) red lentils
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) frozen ginger, freshly grated
  • 1 cup (250 mL) cilantro, freshly chopped or whole, for garnish


  1. Cook rice according to directions. Begin dhal by tossing butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat, swirling gently until it melts and begins to steam and foam. Watch butter as foam subsides and the butter begins to brown. Continue swirling pan gently, watching the color until it becomes golden brown and fragrant. Immediately toss in chopped onions, lowering temperature.
  2. Stir cumin and curry powder into onions and butter. Continue stirring for a few minutes as spices heat through. Add water, lentils, and ginger to the pot. Bring sauce pan to a full boil then lower heat to maintain a slow, steady simmer.
  3. Continue cooking until lentils are soft, about ten minutes. The lentils will soften into a chunky delicious puree. If you prefer a smoother sauce, feel free to puree further with an immersion blender, in a stand blender, or in food processor.
  4. Spoon dhal over cooked rice, garnish with fresh cilantro, serve and share!

© Chef Michael Smith

Yield: 4 cups (1 L) rice and 4 cups (1 L) dhal

Serving Size: 1/2 cup rice (250 mL) and 1/2 cup (250 mL) dhal

Nutritional information

per serving:

Calories 390

Total Fat 8 g

Saturated Fat 3.5 g

Cholesterol 15 mg

Carbohydrates 64 g

Fibre 9 g

Sugars 2 g

Protein 17 g

Sodium 10 mg

Potassium 494 mg

Folate 7 mcg


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