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Grandma's Dahl

Servings: 5


  • 90 g yellow lentils (Toor dahl) or just substitute red lentils
  • 90 g red lentils also called Masore dahl
  • 5 cloves garlic peeled and halved
  • 3 slices ginger 0.5cm each
  • 2 carrots peeled and cut into 2cm rounds
  • 1 potato cut into 3cm cubes
  • 1 drumstick, cut into 5cm sticks optional (or use a handful other vegetable of your choice - cauliflower, etc)
  • 1 tsp good quality curry powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp tumeric powder
  • ½ tsp stock powder
  • 4 cm square of tamarind pulp
  • 2 dried red chillies cut in half
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 small onion quartered and thinly sliced
  • 15 curry leaves


  • Place dahl in a bowl and pour over cold water until it is 3cm above dahl. Leave to soak for 1-4 hours, but not more - it will make the dahl hard (I have no idea why this is, but it's true - I've tried it).
  • Drain the dahl. Place dahl in a pot with garlic and ginger.
  • Add cold water to come up to about 3cm above dahl. Boil on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. If the mixture gets too dry, add more hot water - cold water will slow the cooking process.
  • Add carrots, potatoes and drumstick and boil until all the vegetables are tender.
  • Soak tamarind in hot water for ten minutes, then strain and reserve the juice. Discard seeds and pulp.
  • Add curry powder, chilli powder, tumeric powder and stock powder and stir. Add half the tamarind juice and taste for balance - it should be ever so slightly sour. Add more to taste.
  • In a separate frypan, heat 2 tbsp oil. Add mustard seeds and dried chili - cook for 15 seconds, then add sliced onion. Fry until onion is lightly browned on the edges, then add curry leaves and turn off the heat.
  • Add this mixture to the dahl pot and stir through. Cook for a further 2-5 minutes and serve.