Warm Spicy Daal

There are many different recipes for daal, made with different types of split peas, lentils and even chickpeas, so here is a simple basic one to get you started. From here, feel free to customize to your own taste by adding plain yoghurt, coconut yoghurt or different herbs and spices. I like to eat mine from a deep bowl with a toasted pitta bread or two – or a naan bread if you can stretch to that.

Serves 3

100g dried red lentils
1 onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
a splash of oil
1 chicken stock cube, dissolved in 1 litre boiling water
1 x 400g carton or tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander, plus extra to serve

Rinse the lentils in cold water and drain. Place in a saucepan, cover with fresh water and bring to the boil, skimming off any scum that rises with a spoon.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion into small pieces and place into a small frying pan with the cumin and oil. Fry gently for a few minutes to release the spice’s flavour and soften the onion. Then add to the saucepan containing the lentils along with the stock, chopped tomatoes and coriander.

Reduce to a low heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are swollen. Check towards the end of cooking and add a little more water if required.

Stir well, then serve garnished with more chopped coriander.

Tip: If you’ve got some, use coconut milk instead of the chopped tomatoes and substitute ground turmeric for the ground cumin for a rich, sweet, creamier tasting version.

‘Warm Spicy Daal’ recipe from A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe.

Twitter: @MxJackMonroe Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack


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  1. Fancied something warm and nourishing after a rubbish day.

    My verdict? …
    Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm !!!

    Had to restrain myself from eating a second helping in the same sitting! – Will DEFINATELY be making this again! 🙂

  2. I made this daal with some extra spices from my cupboard. It’s soo easy to make and really tasty too; I’ll definitely be making it again. Thanks for the inspiration Jack. x

  3. Reblogged this on Slimma Chick and commented:
    Having looked through all of Jack Monroe’s recipes, this is the first one I tried. As well as being tasty (I added some extra spices), it was quick and easy to make, so it’s one I will definitely be making this one again.

  4. Made with the coconut milk, nom, nom, it’s fabulous and so easy. Thanks xx
    I’ve just discovered coconut milk powder, much cheaper and you can use exactly what you need.

  5. Hi there, would this be possible to make with the home made chicken stock I’ve got sitting in the freezer please? I made it from a chicken carcass in a moment of attempted frugality (I’m a student and new to this, so still make mistakes) but don’t know what to do with it now and this seems perfect!

  6. In the book, and the ingredients above, it says add a litre of stock. In the instructions here it says add the ‘stock cube’. Which is right? I’ve tried to make this twice and just ended up with a watery mess, so I’m guessing stock cube?

  7. I agree, I followed the instructions and put 750ml rather than a litre of water but its still too much. I would use coconut milk/chopped tomatoes and crumble cube next time. Disappointed.

  8. Hi Jack
    Can you confirm how much water to use please? I was sceptical about the litre of water and am now boiling it vigorously to reduce it down.

      • I left the ‘disappointed’ comment above as I felt it was a bit watery, although the next day it had thickened up. So if you want a thicker ‘curry’ like daal then I would use a less liquid, you can always add more if it’s too thick!

  9. Thanks for replying, the reducing did work eventually. We then mixed the cooked rice in we’d done to go with it and it was really nice. Next time I’ll use less liquid so it’s done quicker.
    Oh and my 15 month old son loved it! We’d had your mixed bean goulash the night before which he didn’t like (but my 3 year old did!) so was glad he enjoyed this.
    I got your first book for Christmas and am trying to do some different things each week to get us out of the food rut we have got ourselves into and save some money too.

  10. Oh I wish I had seen the liquid issues comments when I made mine tonight. I added some salt and garam masala and extra cumin..yummy results 🙂

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