Thursday, August 20, 2020

Quick carrot dal

August 13, 2020

I put a call out on twitter for dal recipes and, among many excellent recommendations, Kylie Maslen suggested this carrot dal from Anna Jones, via the Guardian. It's an odd recipe, loaded up with carrots so that it's heavier on the vegetables than on the lentils. But it works - the curry leaves and spices give it a rich, complex flavour and the grated carrot and red lentils actually work surprisingly well together as the bulking agents. The little pickle on top is fresh and zesty too - definitely worth the small amount of extra effort. We served it with a few treats from our local Indian grocery - paratha and samosas - and didn't even bother with rice. It still fed us for days.

Quick carrot dal
(very slightly adapted from Anna Jones' Guardian column)

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
1 red onion, peeled and grated
vegetable oil
small bunch of curry leaves
1 green chilli, sliced finely
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
200g red lentils
400ml coconut milk
400ml veggie stock
5 carrots, grated
2 large handfuls of spinach leaves
1/2 bunch of coriander leaves

juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
1 green chilli, sliced finely
1 small bunch of radishes, grated
1 tablespoon nigella seeds
1/2 a bunch of coriander leaves
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
pinch of salt

Heat some oil in a large pot and throw in the garlic, onion, chilli and ginger. Cook for about 10 minutes on low heat until everything is nice and soft.

Meanwhile, pound the curry leaves, cumin and coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle. Add them to the pot with the mustard seeds, turmeric and cinnamon. Stir together and then cook for a few minutes. 

Add the lentils, coconut milk, stock and carrots to the pot, bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes. It'll feel like there's too much carrot at this point, but it will cook down nicely in the end. Simmer for about half an hour.

While the dal is cooking, make the pickle by stirring together all the ingredients in a small bowl.

Kill the heat on the dal and stir through the coriander and the spinach until it all wilts. Serve on rice or bread, with a generous scoop of pickle on top.


  1. This looks fun! I love seeing all the veggies in it, always looking for ways to get more veggies.

  2. This is on the stove for dinner tonight. Smells SO good! When do we pop in the green chili into the dahl?

    1. Ah, sorry - good spot! It should have gone in early with the onion, garlic and ginger. Fixed the post now so that it's clear!