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Recipe: Vegetable & Lentil Daal (also Dal or Dhal)

We adore Indian food in our house. The spices, the textures and the taste. My eldest daughter is loves a curry, whether homemade, in a restaurant or from the local takeaway.

As you already know from my Tandoori Chicken Recipe and my Bombay Potatoes Recipe – I like to create that authentic taste but using ingredients we all usually have in our kitchens, pantries and larders.

This recipe uses frozen mixed vegetables, a staple in most family household freezers but before you all panic that I am not using fresh vegetables, I’ll let you into a little known fact, frozen vegetables are just as healthy, nutritious and good for you as fresh vegetables and in some cases, even more nutritious according the The Daily Mail. And as an added bonus, they save waste as you only use what you need at any one time. Win win!

Anyway back to the daal. Daal (also known as dal and dhal) is a delicious dish originating in the Indus Valley Civilisation and in history, the humble daal was used in both Royal and celebratory menus served as both a side dish and a main dish depending on the menu.

Daal is both comforting and delicious with a delightfully soothing warm spice without being fiery hot and spicy.

So let’s get on to the recipe!

Recipe: Vegetable & Lentil Daal (also Dal or Dhal)

Recipe by Sally Walker –
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 portions


  • 1 tbsp Oil (Sunflower, rapeseed or olive oil)
  • 2 Onions Chopped
  • 3 Garlic Gloves Peeled and chopped finely (or tsp of garlic paste)
  • 1 tbsp Ginger Fresh ginger or 1 heaped tsp of ginger paste)
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds Or 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Coriander seeds Or 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp Red chilli flakes Use less or more to taste
  • 1 tsp Ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 200 g Dried red lentils Rinsed and drained but no need to soak
  • 400 g Frozen mixed vegetables Buying frozen saves waste and also has the same amount as nutrients as fresh vegetables
  • 1 tin Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin Coconut milk
  • 1 Vegetable stock cube
  • 400ml Water You may need to add more, keep an eye on it!
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice Fresh or bottled is fine
  • 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper Add more to taste if you wish
  • 1/4 tsp Salt Add more to taste if you wish but be careful as most stock cubes (which this recipe includes) are quite salty!


  • If using whole seeds, grind your cumin and coriander seeds together.
  • Heat the oil of your choosing in your pan/pot and once heated add your chopped onion, garlic and ginger, cook in a moderately low heat for 3 minutes.
  • Add all the cumin, coriander, red chilli flakes, turmeric and garam masala to the pan and on the same moderately low heat, cook together with the onion, garlic and ginger for 1 minute.
  • Now, comes the easy part. Add everything else, except the lemon juice, to the pan, stir well and on a low heat allow to cook for 15 minutes, but check regularly and stir in case it sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • After 15 minutes stir and check to see how the water levels are. If it is starting to look dry, add more water. Cover and leave (with checking ever 5 minutes or so) to cook on a moderate heat for another 15 minutes until reduced, thicker but still with a little give, and soft lentils (mushy lentils are also good!).
  • Just before serving, add the lemon juice and cook on a low heat for 1 minute. Serve hot with naan bread, chapati or rice. Will serve 4-5 as a main dish or 6 as a side dish.

Have it as a side dish to accompany your curry or have it as a main and devour it in all it’s glory, the choice is yours!

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