Red lentil dahl


Split red lentils are the quickest lentils to cook since they have been de-hulled. They’re a great go-to legume for a warming, vegetarian stew on a cold, damp day. Sometimes I make red lentil dahl with butter, olive oil, chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock for richness, and sometimes I use coconut milk. This week I used coconut milk. Ghee and coconut oil are other good flavorful fat options.

I used an approximate amount of water when I made this recipe, so the end result was a little soupier than dahl. However, I looked up the liquid to split red lentil ratio in a few dahl recipes and they all said 3 to 1. That is the ratio I put in the recipe below and will cook with in the future.


1 knob butter (or 1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil)
1 small onion
2 stalks celery, diced small
1 1/2 medium carrots, diced small

1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp whole fennel seeds

1 1/2 cups split red lentils (rinsed and drained)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
3 cups water

1 tbsp maple syrup (or other sweetener)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or a few squirts of lemon juice)
1 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 1/2 to 2 tsp hot curry powder (Gathering Place makes a fantastic organic one)

shoyu to taste (or other salty condiment of choice)


  1. Make rice. Brown jasmine or brown basmati are quite tasty and aromatic. I like to cook mine with a bit of butter and salt.
  2. Melt some butter in a 4 liter saucepan. Add chopped onion. Let it soften (about 2 minutes). Add chopped celery and carrots. Add a bit of extra butter and a dash of water and let soften 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in fennel and cumin seeds and let everything gently fry 1 or 2 more minutes.

  3. Add water, coconut milk and lentils. Stir, cover and let ingredients come to a boil (I usually uncover the pot a bit before the broth starts boiling to prevent the liquid from boiling over). When the broth comes to a boil, lower heat so that it boils gently and cover pot for 20 minutes.
  4. Stir. Are lentils soft? If no, let them continue to boil gently until they are. If yes, add vinegar, maple syrup and salt. Let boil gently uncovered for 5 minutes. Add grated ginger and curry powder. Remove from heat and cover for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve in a bowl over rice and top with cilantro.
  6. Enjoy!