turmeric recipes - daal recipe

Quick, Simple and Authentic Daal Recipe

The theme on my blog this week has been on the health benefits of turmeric and trying to incorporate it more into cooking. My focus has very much been on turmeric based recipes, and finding easy ways to consume more of it. This recipe is for daal, the word normally used to describe traditional Indian curries. A daal can be made of various different pulses, but this one in particular is made with red lentils.

In our house, it has inevitably become a regular staple, whether it’s hot or cold, a good day or a bad day. It’s the ultimate comfort food.

I’ve looked at tons of daal recipes and tried tons of takeaways, but haven’t yet found anything that I have enjoyed as much as my mums daal. Although, it’s worth noting that the recipes that I haven’t tried yet, are Madhur Jaffrey‘s, which in itself is something I’m deeply ashamed of.

If you don’t know who she is, Madhur Jaffrey is the supreme source of curry knowledge. She has dedicated her time to replicating the satisfaction that you get from traditional Indian dishes, without the complexity of endless hours in the kitchen. She has transformed traditional Indian cuisine into something more accessible.

Even so, as it inevitably goes, I imagine I would still prefer my mum’s daal over any one else’s. It really is true what they say, there’s nothing quite like mum’s cooking. Growing up, I had a difficult relationship with my parents (I still do), but I remember all of our good conversations as taking place in the kitchen while my mum would be cooking up something delightful.

I debated a while whether to share this recipe, but it’s such an easy and fulfilling meal to make, that it feels selfish not to. However, I must warn you that I have still modified my mums original daal recipe slightly, but only slightly! I’d like to think I’ve made it better, but I imagine my mum might disagree. I guess I was never very good at being told what to do… Regardless, this is still an incredible daal recipe and so easy to make. Enjoy!

Daal Recipe

Serves: 4 (or 2 very hungry people!)

165g red lentils
450ml of water
2 green chillis, sliced
3 spring onions, sliced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli flakes (optional, dependant on how spicy you like your curry!)
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp cumin seeds
15g butter
240g rice
Natural yoghurt
Olive oil
Handful chopped coriander for garnish

Optional for serving:
Natural yoghurt
1 Lemon


  1. Wash the red lentils thoroughly until the water is clear and no longer cloudy.
  2. In a pot, add the washed red lentils with 350ml water. Cook on high until white foam starts to appear.
  3. Scoop out the white foam from the top. Stir it, and scoop any remaining white foam out. You’ll inevitably scoop out a little bit of water but try to not take out too much.
  4. Add chopped chillis, spring onions, ground coriander, turmeric, garam masala and chilli flakes.
  5. Add remaining 100ml of water. Stir and put lid on to cook on low heat.
  6. In a separate frying pan over medium heat, add a dash of olive oil along with the crushed garlic cloves. Fry until the garlic is slightly brown. Tip it into the daal.
  7. In the same frying pan you used for garlic, add the cumin seeds. You don’t need to add any additional oil. Fry until lightly toasted. Tip the cumin seeds into the daal as well
  8. Add the butter, stir the daal, and put the lid back on. If the daal feels too dry, you can add a little more water if needed. Otherwise, cook on low heat for half an hour or until the daal has reached a thick saucy consistency.
  9. Once cooked, add chopped coriander. Serve with rice.

Tip: squeeze some fresh lemon juice over your daal or add a dollop of natural yoghurt for a more refreshing meal!

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