Discovering new flavors + Indian Dal

Dal (6 of 6)

Making food that is not native to my culture intimidates me. I get scared that I am going to offend an entire ethnic group with my attempts at recreating one of their prized dishes–but luckily that is not the case. If I think about it, all of the meals that I prepare have originated from somewhere; they have a history. For instance the hamburger pie I would eat as a child is really Shepherd’s Pie, which is a staple menu item in Ireland.

Dal (5 of 6)I never knew that adding a few different ingredients to my go-to lentil recipe would become more Indian or South Asian. Dal, a thick stew made from lentils, was the first recipe where I experimented with Indian cuisine and flavors.

Dal (3 of 6)I was  pleasantly surprised with the ease of this dish as well as the taste. I couldn’t stop eating it! Now that I have learned to make this, I feel comfortable experimenting with other flavors and adding other vegetables to this dish! I hope you enjoy my adaptation of this traditional Indian meal.

Dal (1 of 6)

Dal (or Daal)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An Indian style red lentil, Dal.
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6 servings
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups red lentils
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4-5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 serrano chilis
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh turmeric, grated (this will stain!)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup plain greek yogurt
  1. Rinse your lentils and allow to dry while you do the following steps.
  2. Chop onions and tomatoes--set aside.
  3. Thinly slice the garlic (long ways to maintain flavor)--set aside.
  4. In a dutch oven, or a heavy pan with a lid, heat 2 Tbsp. Olive oil (not extra virgin) over Med heat.
  5. Add onions. Cook for 5 minutes, or until it become translucent.
  6. Mix in the minced garlic, two serrano chillis, curry powder, turmeric, ginger, cumin, salt, pepper, and garam masala. Mix for one minute.
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes and the lentils. Stir.
  8. After 1 minute, pour in the stock.
  9. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
  10. Place the lid on top. Allow it to simmer for 30 minutes, or until you are satisfied with the thickness.
  11. Serve over Basmati Rice (or for those who can eat gluten, serve Naan) and top with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.







By | 2016-05-18T15:16:47-08:00 April 3rd, 2016|Categories: Blog, Corn Free, Dairy Free, Fish Free, Gluten Free, Recipes, Soy Free|Tags: , , |3 Comments

About the Author:

A native Texan who, after being diagnosed with food allergies and Celiac Disease in her mid-twenties, wanted to help others who drastically had to change their diets later in life. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband, where she operates Mary Lee Kitchen.


  1. March Menu | Mary Lee Kitchen April 5, 2016 at 10:07 am - Reply

    […] Daal […]

  2. Lauren April 16, 2016 at 7:44 am - Reply

    I have to admit I’ve never heard about letting your lentils dry after rinsing them! Is this an important step? Do tell!

    • maryleekitchen May 3, 2016 at 5:32 pm - Reply


      you want to make sure that the lentils are soaking up the flavor of the spices not just the water. It is not a crucial step, but I think it makes the lentils taste better. We will try it when you are in town soon!

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