Quick & Easy Red Lentil Dal {Ready in 30 minutes}

This easy dal recipe uses red lentils which take under half an hour to cook. Dal is super healthy, low in fat and high in protein. Add water or stock to make it into a spicy lentil soup or let it reduce into a thick lentil stew to serve with rice or naan bread.

Dal can be served as a main with a few curry dishes as part of a thali. It freezes well so it's great for batch cooking. Red lentil dal always tastes better the day after it's made topped with lots of fresh coriander. 

Easy Red Lentil Dal

  • Serves: 4 as a main, 6-8 as a side
  • Time: 30 minutes start to finish
  • Cost: 63p per serving (based on 4 servings)
  • Calories: 250 per serving (based on 4 servings)


  • 250g red lentils, washed very well
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed 
  • 2 - 3 red chillies, chopped 
  • Thumbsized piece of root ginger, grated 
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Place the well washed red lentils in a large pan of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes until they are well cooked and mushy. As they cook some white foam will come to the surface - skim this off with a slotted spoon as it will make your Dal taste bitter.
  2. While the red lentils are cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the ground coriander, cumin and turmeric. Stir through the oil and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the sliced onion. Fry the onion for around 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, chilli and ginger. Stir and cook for around a minute before adding the chopped tomatoes. Give everything a good stir, season to taste, turn the heat low and leave to simmer for around 10 - 15 minutes while the lentils finish cooking.
  3. Drain the cooked red lentils reserving the cooking water. Add the cooked red lentils to the tomato and onion mixture and give it a really good stir over a medium heat. Add a little of the cooking water from the lentils to the Dal to achieve your preferred consistency. Stir through the fresh coriander and serve with rice or naan bread.