Dhal-iciously simple red lentil dhal

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to travel to India with Mr H for a couple of weeks. I can truly say that I have never been to such an incredible, eye-opening and fascinating country – from the second we stepped off the plane (in fact even before we landed, as we saw the rows and rows of slums that lined the airport fences) it was clear that this was going to be no ordinary holiday.

The best way I can think of as how to describe is a complete overload on the senses – everything is brighter, smellier, noisier and tastier that it is back home. Our aim was to embrace the culture as much as we could, so we ate in local restaurants, ordered what the waiters recommended (where they could understand us), and made sure that they didn’t go easy on the spice.

For two weeks we ate no meat, no fish and no salads – just simple, homemade, vegetable curries, with a small serving of rice or freshly baked bread (but never both). We ate curries of all kinds for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we just couldn’t get enough of the amazing food. We never felt anything but well while we were away, and when we left to go home we both felt energetic, detoxed and healthy – because TRUE Indian food isn’t greasy or heavy, or served with a takeaway container of oily rice and a naan bread an inch thick. True Indian food is nourishing, simple, spiced to perfection and delicious. Dhal is one such dish that typifies this – it’s made from lentils (or sometimes chickpeas) simmered gently with onion, garlic and spices and enjoyed by millions on a daily basis across India. It’s really cheap to make, and you can add in other vegetables that you need to use up as well as cooking it in batches for the week ahead.

This recipe instantly transports me back to the most magical country I have ever had the pleasure to visit. I hope you love it as much as I do, and if you’re ever planning a trip to incredible India let me know, I’ve got lots of recommendations to share!


  • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 handful fresh coriander
  • 4 cups water

Fry the oil in a wok or large pan for a minute to warm it up, then add in everything apart from the coriander and the water. Fry for a couple more minutes until the onion has softened, then add in the other ingredients (and any other extra vegetables you want). Leave on a low heat to simmer for at least an hour (or longer if you have time), stirring every 20 minutes or so. Serve with brown rice or quinoa and enjoy.

Love, Mrs H xx



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