Spicy Lentil Dahl

We really enjoy Indian style food at our house and the depth of flavours that all of those spices together create. I was actually looking for a recipe to use up some red lentils that I had and came across this one. The recipe uses very simple ingredients, all of which I had on hand (I do have a pretty extensive spice collection though), and it was really quick to throw together. I actually served it on rice because it was less like a soup and more like a curry. This turned out to be a delicious combo and I would definitely make it again. It is now one of our Family Favourites . Just in case you are worried, it’s not super spicy at all, you could make it so with more cayenne pepper.


  • 1 T. sesame oil or, alternatively, olive oil (I used canola)
  • 1 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 T. finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 cups water or vegetable broth (I used veggie)
  • 1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 t. coriander
  • 1 t. tumeric
  • ¼ t. cardamom
  • ¼ t. cinnamon
  • ¼ t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 t. salt, or to taste
  • 2 T. tomato paste (I actually used a whole 156ml can, you could even omit this because it’s still delicious without, the tomato paste does make it a nice colour though.)


In a 3-quart stockpot or other medium-sized soup pot, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.

Stirring constantly, add the water or broth, lentils, spices and salt. Bring to a low boil, then turn down the heat to low, cover and let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are very tender.

Stir in the tomato paste until well combined. Cook several minutes more, or until the soup is desired temperature and consistency, adding more water to the dahl if needed. (I left it quite thick and not very soup-like but it was delicious served on the rice.) Makes about 4 servings.




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