How to make Lentil-Dal

Dal is a term in the Indian subcontinent for dried, split pulses. The term is also used for various soups prepared from these pulses. I happened to own a bag of chana dal which are split chickpeas, so not exactly lentils but for the sake of the recipe, it didn't really matter.

I had recently unearthed a couple bags of beans and legumes that I frankly don't remember buying. A few weeks ago I tried out mung beans and that turned out pretty well so today I tackled chana dal.

I found a recipe card at the grocery store with a pretty simple recipe that basically anyone can accomplish. The only thing I was missing wat the McCormick's Tandoori spice blend. It only took me an extra 10 minutes to make my own version of the Tandoori mix and I felt really good using up some old Indian spices I had in the cupboard.

Because I was using split-chickpeas instead of lentils, I boiled some water and soaked the chana dal for 15 minutes. You can skip this step if you don't need to pre-soak your beans.

Here is the super simple recipe that feeds 2 people if served with naan:


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil

  • 1 Tbsp Tandoori Spice Mix

  • 150 g gold/yellow lentils

  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (400 g or 14 oz)

  • 2 dl water (just between 3/4 c.+2 Tbsp)

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • pepper to taste

  • 4 Tbsp natural yogurt (optional)


Warm the oil in a pan over low-med heat. Add the spice mix and allow to roast for about 1 minute. Carefully add the lentils - be careful the oil will be hot and could splatter. Then add the tomato and water. Bring up to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15* minutes with the lid on. Season to taste and serve with the yogurt on the side.

*Since I was using split-chickpeas I needed to cook it for 25 minutes - adjust cooking time accordingly. Beans should be not hard.

Let me know if you make this recipe and how you liked it!