Adre’s Daily Dal

PREP TIME: 10mins


It’s no secret that I love Indian food and I am always looking for excuses to add some spice daily. I crave it often which is great as lentils are fantastic for us.

This foolproof dish is quick and easy and tastes as authentic as anything I have tasted this side of the waters.

Serving Suggestion:

Serve with some fresh garlic naan, a dollop of yogurt or a good Indian pickle or ‘atchar’ as its is known in South Africa.

Serves 4 with extras

What you'll need:

A sieve, soup ladle – for the lentils

Medium saucepan


  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil *
  • 2 onions diced
  • 4 tablespoons minced ginger (or to taste)
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 1/2 (225g) cups red lentils
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • salt

Spice Mix

  • 6 cloves
  • 6 cardamon pods, bashed
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala


  1. Rinse the lentils under water until the water runs clear, drain and put into a deep lidded saucepan. Add plenty of cold water, bring to the boil over a medium to high heat. Skim any white froth and discard.
  2. Cover and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. Do keep your eye on the lentils as some lentils can cook in as little as 10 minutes. Drain the lentils reserving a cup of the cooking water.
  3. While the lentils are cooking, put the oil into a deep lidded saucepan on a medium heat, when hot, add the peppercorn, cardamom and cloves, stir until fragrant, add the chopped onions and cook on a medium heat until golden, soft and translucent (see kitchen note) . The slower the cooking of the onions the better your dal!
  4. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for a further 3 minutes,  add the coriander, turmeric, garam masala and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir continuously.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes, simmer on a lowish heat for around 10 minutes.
  6. Add the lentils, stir well to mix with the tomatoes. You can pour in some cooking water to get a good consistency one tablespoon at a time. A good consistency should be like thick porridge but still falling off the spoon, think dunk-able with a naan.
  7. Gently warm the dal and season with salt and ginger.

Kitchen Story:

My love for Indian food only started when I moved to London. Growing up, our local Church Bazaar rendition of  ‘kerrie & rice’ was the only curry I knew. I was soon corrected by ‘the husband’ that this was in fact N O T H I N G to do with Indian food in any form. I thought it best not to tell him that I liked mine with a few banana slices on the side too : )


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