Lentil Dhal Curry With Aromatic Rice - Authentic Indian Vegan Cooking

in #food3 years ago (edited)

Knowing how to cook a good authentic Indian curry is one of those things that eludes many people. Why can't your home made curry taste like it does in a good Indian restaurant!? Well, I have been living in India for 11 years and if there is one thing I can say I have learned how to make, it is a good Dhal Curry! This recipe is one that I was taught by a dear friend who prided herself on making proper dhal as her mother taught her. Now, I am happy to share this with you here on Steemit!

The secret of a good curry is in the masala. Masala is a mix of Indian spices that can be anything from a mild blend of subtle tastes, to a full powered spicy and aromatic blend. Knowing what order and temperature to cook your spices is the most important part of Indian cooking. If you get your masala right, the rest follows naturally! Indian spices are special in that they are mostly very good medicinal herbs. The list of spices in this Dhal Curry is quite long, but the number of ailments it can heal, and health benefits of eating spices like turmeric, cumin, ginger, and chili is even longer! This dish is not only super tasty, but will keep your body happy and healthy for a hearty lunch or dinner.

Health Benefits of Dhal Curry

  • Lower Cholesterol. Lentils help to reduce blood cholesterol since it contains high levels of soluble fiber.
  • Heart Health.
  • Digestive Health.
  • Stabilized Blood Sugar.
  • Good Protein.
  • Increases Energy.
  • Weight Loss.

The protein content of Dhal is 3.5 times that of rice and 2.5 times that of wheat. It therefore provides an excellent source of protein, particularly for those adopting vegetarian diets or diets which do not contain much meat. It is also rich in the B vitamins thiamine and folic acid, as well as several minerals, notably iron and zinc. This dish is "Cheap and Best", as we say in India!

What You Will Need?


  • 2 cups split lentils
  • 2 onions
  • 4 small tomatoes
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 lime / lemon squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 3/4 tablespoon cumin seed
  • 10 Fresh curry leaves
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • Coconut Oil / Ghee (or clarified butter)
  • 2 x red chillies
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 x star anise
  • 2-3 clove pods
  • 2-3 cardamom pods
  • 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil (Or Ghee / Clarified Butter)
  • 2 teaspoons rock salt


  1. Wash the rice thoroughly in tap water until it runs clear and drain.
  2. Put the rice, water, spices, salt and oil into a pot.
  3. Cover and bring to the boil. Then cook on low heat for around 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and it looks like below.
  4. Leave covered until ready to serve.


  1. Wash the dhal under tap water and add to a saucepan or pressure cooker.
  2. Cook until tender and very soft. This takes around 15-20 minutes in a pressure cooker or 20-30 minutes in a covered saucepan.
  3. At the same time heat a deep frying pan with some oil on a medium to high heat
  4. When the oil is very hot, add the red chili and mustard seeds. They will start popping ! If they don't it's not hot enough. If they jump out the pan it is too hot!

  5. Wait 5 seconds and add the cumin seeds stirring quickly for 5-10 seconds. Then add the curry leaf and fry for a few seconds

  6. Reduce the heat and immediately add the onions and fry for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.
  7. Add fresh ginger and chopped garlic an fry for one minute
  8. Now add the turmeric powder, cumin powder and stir and fry for 2 minutes. Add a little water if it is getting too dry.

  9. Add chopped tomatoes and cover , turn the heat back up and cook for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally.

  10. Get ready to add the dhal! It should be very soft and look like this

  11. Add the dhal to the mix and stir. Add water if it is too thick.

  12. Cook for a few minutes and then leave covered until ready to eat.

This dish is great served with chapati flat bread or a nice crispy papadum If you have some good sour pickle that is also an Indian favorite! Today I used a sweet amla chutney.

This dish is so satisfying that you will not crave your next meal or a snack for some time! I really hope you try it and enjoy! Most of us have some lentils hanging around just waiting to be turned into this incredibly tasty dish. I have used black and red lentils, feel free to use your favorite or mix it up as i did!

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Might end up making a cook book from printed steemit articles :O

lol.. not a bad idea.. GREAT photos in most of them! check out the Steemit Iron Chef!


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Loved this because I love daal and chawal (rice). Craving for some right now. While most people here are crazy about meat based dishes, I am happy with my pot of daal and rice haha

good for you! it feels much better to eat well and not harm animals.. most of the time we dont need meat! it filled me up nicely all day today!

It does. I am not a vegetarian but I am likely my son will be. He hates it when he sees an animal getting hurt. His exact words are: I don't like it when they kill animals. I don't want to eat chicken.

aweeee...sweeit lovely boy! the children are the future!

When I get home I'm going to try to make this!

there is no try, only do! and i hope you will! best thing to do with lentils! No idea if u can find curry leaf out there.. any good indian shop might have it.. no idea if you have them either! enjoy! ;-)

Oh, the pictures look amazing in this one with just the round circle of the pan showing! And I love the feminine touch with the morning glory :-)

yay.. glad u like the presentation ;-). and the house is pretty clean too!

This looks delicious. I love the presentation as well with the circle masks around the cooking pots. Very clever. My wife is the cook around here, trust me that's not a macho thing, maybe she will have a go at it. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

oh nice feedback, thank you! and coming from you, that is good news!

on a cold winter evening.. This is the stuff!

'A cold winter evening', I can hardly remember what that feels like. LOL I love your home btw, it looks amazing from the inside as well.

Thanks so much for writing this down and sharing it. I'm exactly one of those people who've been trying to make a good authentic curry for years, but it's always lacking a certain something. This was very clearly explained and the timings are especially useful. There were a few ingredients there which I don’t use, such as mustard seeds, though I suspect the key is in the garam masala mix and the curry leaves which are difficult to find where I live. Do you know what's in the garam masala?
I like to add a load of coconut cream to my dhal while it's cooking.

well garam is mainly clove, cardamom, cinnamon and things like that.. its Very commonly available...

curry leave are optional also,, but do lift the flavour profile nicely.. u can probably find them somewhere in tel aviv i guess .. maybe here:

no need of coconut cream, i use coconut oil.. but i guess it makes it all that more creamy!

Yes indeed, the coconut cream makes it nice and creamy - also more fattening which is good for someone like me who is very thin. I haven't been to tel aviv for years. Just don't seem to get to the big city these days. Maybe there's a mail order service.

oh you know.. there/s this thing called the internet! ;-)

Never heard of it. How long does it need to cook for? Is it spicy? Can I get it where I live? I'll check it out. Thanks

Oh just google it! Oh wait a minute...!

The internet is my cookbook. Thanks for adding fresh leaves!

haha! great comment ;-)


That sounds and looks good!

im about to have my second round now! i think it gets better with a little sitting time ;-) glad u like the look!

What fantastic photos and instructions and looks so tasty! :)

You're kitchen and house look pretty amazing too!
Thanks for sharing, I'm going to Re-steem so I have the recipe as we're all Vegan, but my cooking is usually throw it all in the slow cooker and hope it's ok!! (sorry to offend a good cook like yourself!)

thanks michelle! it was actually delicious!!! i ate it for lunch and dinner and felt satisfied all day .. thanks for the resteem! ;-)

you can throw things in the slow cooker, but not the masala! That has to be heated to the right level to release the flavors.. ;-)

Great it tasted good Alex! :)

Oh now you have my attention, if I can throw it in the slow cooker! I'm sure if we can buy masala here, seen it as a powder (garam masala) but not whole.

oh you tried it! nice one ;-) masala just means a mix.. if you just see the ingredients list that is the masala. Garam is optional for a bit more oomph.. but the rest of the spices are quite common to find in any normal shop. u do godda fry those spice though! else, no flavour!

Fry ground spices?
It's hard to get fresh ones here.

cumin, mustard seed, turmeric.. they are all available surely! curry leaf might be hard though yes!

I'll have to check that out, not seen them in the supermarket, but I could be looking in the wrong place!
Seen fresh herbs, not spices.

they are dried.. the spices.. sorry maybe im confusing things! only the curry leaf and ginger are fresh..

Tumeric, cumin, granulated (sometimes carmelized) onion, onions, shallots, garlic, anchovy extract, caraway seeds, coriander seeds and roots, and ginger roots (including laos) are among my staples for many years. Limes and lemons are almost always around. I tend to go easy with peppercorns, chilis, and cayenne and usually elect for freeze-dried versions of the latter two (The taste of pepper, not the hotness is my one food repulsion.).

When I was at UConn, a good friend was from Pakistan, and he invited to his apartment for dinner. He made a mild curry dish (cutting it with coconut cream). I have been hooked ever since.

Most Nepalese, Indian cuisine restaurants have lame curry lentil dishes. I was spoiled in Hartford, Connecticut, with a place which made a killer pulse soup. Sometimes, that was all I ordered there: two or more bowls. My friends would look at me like I was deprived. However, the owner knew that I knew.

In my world travels, my quick acceptance by the locals stems from my smile and my eagerness to eat their food. It is instant camaraderie.

Mmm, your making me hungry again! Oh the joys of coconut cream!!

Really nice photos!

I love curry and we make a lot of it here over the years. Its so easy once you know how to do it and most people really like a good curry.

Photos were really well done. Looks like you have a future in food posts! Consider the competitions if your going to do a lot of food posts.

Blessings Brother~*~

thanks quinn! i wonder, have you ever tried fresh curry leaves? They are hard to grow in cold climates, but their aroma and taste is just my favorite!

i have noticed a few competitoins flying around.. im not sure im doing it well enough for Iron chef,, but maybe if I can take it up a notch I can manage!.. i did enter this on veganwednesday that @heart-to-heart is organising.. I like the vibe there.. very cozy ;-)

Yes we actually grow some curry plants of which have curry leaves that are VERY fresh hehe.

Yes there are a LOT of food competitions, def check them out. You may not win the high level ones as there are a lot professional chefs but entering is still wise especially if you are going to be doing food posts. You have a friendly and likable character so you will make friends with people who like to up vote and support foodies. Also as I said it seems you do have some skill for good food and presentation.
You will still get more support from your food posts by entering and loosing than by not entering at all ;-)>


great advice, thankyou!! next one ill enter something .. i have a good recipe to go next.. .. of course!

Your welcome. I tend to agree I have "good advise" but I may be biased!

Glad at least on this occasion you agree!

oh wow! you got it ALL going on if you have curry leaves going too! not many people know the joys of them.. that 5 seconds of hot frying really releases the flavours -)

Mmmmm Hmmmmmmmmm

You never seen food and feasting until you have been to The GOE!

i believe you !! i BElieve you!!

hhahaa GOOD!

Incredible Alex! These picture in the pan are genious. Well created post. :)

Thank u! Yes its nice to see the real detail in the pan! ;) thanks for the lovely comment!

Wow great recipe! I have only just had breakfast and seeing this has made me feel hungry already lol. Thanks for sharing :)

lol.. Lovely comment mr inspirator! i must have done my job well if you feel like that! ;-) hope you give it a shot!

Thanks @eco-alex! I may give it a shot soon :)

Oh this looks soo yummy, I love lentils! I've been looking for a good veggie curry recipe, thank you!

Happy to hear this! that is what i was hoping to hear ;-) .. it is a good recipe this one! The secret really is in the timing of the spice cooking.. thanks!

Thank you! I'll make sure to time it to perfection :)

Congratulations on a wonderfully plant-powered post!
This post has been resteemed by @plantpowerparty!
@plantpowerparty aims to support and encourage plant-powered recipes like this one right here!
Thank you for sharing! Steem on!
(PS @plantpowerparty is looking for a logo! If you or anyone you know can create one, come on over to the page for more info!)

thats great you are doing this! thank you.. i ama web developer and MIGHT be able to help you with a logo.. ill check out your page

Hey @eco-alex thank you :) This is the link to what I am looking for! Let me know if you think you can help! Would be awesome :)

thanks for the link.. looks like fun! ill see if i can find some time to make something!

This is a beautiful house you life in!
Ahhh! And the Dhal is looking delicious too! I am cooking Dhal a lot by guess and by gosh. I have a very close friend with indian roots and I always try to remember how he dud it.
Next time I am going to follow your instructions step by step. I am curious how this turns out compared to my sometimes very improvised way of cooking.
Upvoted and reesteemed. Following too.

thank you! yes it is an Earthhsip.. made of old car tyres and mud .. quite unusual! you can check my blog out as i am writing the story of how i made it.. quite a story too!

Do try it step by step! and watch the timings and heat with the masala part! Hope it turns out to be Too Good! Thanks @pusteblume

This is really great, my husband @methusalem is absolutely mad about curry. We gave a place not far from our home called Danny's curry. It is made by and Indian couple and he slips away to have a bunny chow at least once a week. :) Maybe I can try your lovely recipe and keep him here LOL

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