Masala dal (garlicky spiced lentils)

Masala dal (garlicky spiced lentils)
  • Serves icon Serves 4
  • Time icon Ready in 35 minutes

This Indian Masala dal recipe, or garlicky spiced lentils, is so quick and easy to make and will please vegetarians too.


  • 200g yellow and red lentils (or all red)
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 fresh or dried curry leaves (Waitrose stocks the dried variety)
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp Patak’s Garam Masala Paste
  • 200g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • Juice of ½ lemon


  1. Pour 600ml boiling water into a saucepan. Add the lentils and turmeric. Simmer, partially covered, for 15-20 minutes until they have softened and absorbed most of the water. Add more water if necessary. Remove from the heat.
  2. In another saucepan, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds. When they begin to crackle, add the ginger, garlic, curry leaves and chilli. Fry for 1 minute, then add the garam masala paste and tomatoes. Fry for a few more minutes, then spoon into the lentils. Season with salt, to taste.
  3. Bring to the boil, then stir in the coriander and lemon juice.


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