How to Make Red Lentil Dal
PREP TIME: 20 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 60 MINUTES
SKILL LEVEL: EASY
INGREDIENTSSKILL LEVEL: EASY
No Indian meal is complete without dal or rice. Bengali's use a variety of different lentils cooked with many different spices. Feel free to experiment.
1. Soak the lentils in water for 2-12 hours. Then drain and rinse well.
2. Fill water to twice the height of the lentil. Add salt & pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer over low heat for 60 minutes.
3. Cut tomatoes into wedges and add.
4. Fry onions in 2 tbsp sunflower oil. Add garlic at the end because it burns quickly.
5. Mix into daal.
6. In a separate frying pan, make a paste with the spices and fry in the remaining oil. Add to lentils.
7. Cook, keeping at a simmer adding some water every now and then. The lentils are done when they have completely melted and the soup is smooth, blended and watery. This typically takes 60 minutes of simmering. Garnish with lime and fresh cilantro.
How Can Red Lentil Dal Make You Feel Great?
'Red Lentil Dal' is one of those meals - no matter how many times you cook it, it always tastes a little different. But that is the beauty of this recipe. It is a wonderful base for each individual to make their own mark on it. The use of simple ingredients and carefully selected spices in this meal encapsulates the wisdom of Ayurvedic cooking, while making it accessible to even the most novice chef. No matter how bad your day or long the week, a steaming bowl of warm, comforting dal will keep you grounded and content.
Lentils can be difficult to digest, but with the proper preparation (soaking and rinsing thoroughly beforehand) and combining with digestive spices, they become a nourishing fuel and a staple in Ayurvedic cooking. The spices used in this recipe are carminative in nature which means they minimize the gas forming properties often associated with lentils. Carminative herbs and spices, like cardamom, garlic and ginger, also stoke your digestive fire and assist in the elimination of digestive toxins.
One Pot Wonder
When all the ingredients are cooked together, they become well combined and easy to digest. This type of 'one pot wonder' meal is exactly what the digestive system loves to receive. Over time, eating these light, soft and easy to digest meals will increase energy and improve digestive strength. 'Red Lentil Dal' can be enjoyed at any occasion, but is particularly useful when when you are feeling under the weather or recovering from an illness.
WHAT IS RED LENTIL DAL?
When I first discovered daal, I ate it every meal for a week in a row. Then I was so sick of daal I didn't eat it again for several months. Now we have a more stable relationship and I enjoy daal once a week.
WHY SHOULD YOU EAT AYURVEDICALLY?
Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. An Ayurvedic diet is
tailored to your individual body type and the specific imbalances you are working with
at any given time. Foods that supplement your specific body type’s needs and digest
easily create your menu. Watch as you eat less but feel more satisfied because what you
are eating truly nourishes you. Since Ayurveda believes all disease begins in the digestive
tract, food is your first medicine. By eating a healthy diet that’s ideal for your body, you
experience optimal health.
Is Red Lentil Dal Good for Me?
Find out by taking this free, easy quiz
You'll learn your body type, and whether Red Lentil Dal is a good fit for you. Time to complete: approximately 1 minute.
Increases These Qualities (Gunas)
Functional Ayurveda helps you assess imbalances through 20 main characteristics
Aggravating these characteristics weakens your body and causes imbalance.
By knowing which characteristics are habitually imbalanced in your body, you will be able to identify and correct imbalances before you get sick.
Every characteristic has an opposite which balances it (i.e. hot balances cold).
You restore balance by favoring diet and lifestyle choices that increase the opposite characteristic.
ABOUT CLEAR GUNA
Clear refers to anything that cleanses or flushes out wastes, or that digests ama.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CLEAR
ABOUT HOT GUNA
Hot is identified by increased body temperature, metabolism, or inflammation.
LEARN MORE ABOUT HOT
ABOUT MOBILE GUNA
Mobile refers to anything that stimulates the nervous system, muscles, or activity.
LEARN MORE ABOUT MOBILE
The 6 Tastes
Taste is used to sense the most basic properties and effects of food.
Each taste has a specific medicinal effect on your body.
Cravings for food with certain tastes indicate your body is craving specific medicinal results from food.
Taste is experienced on the tongue and represents your body's reaction to foods.
Sweet taste causes physical satisfaction and attraction whereas bitter taste causes discomfort and aversion.
Kapha should use less sweet taste while Vata and Pitta would benefit from using more sweet taste.
One of the first signs of illness is that your taste and appetite for food changes.
The six tastes are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent.
Do you crave foods with any of the tastes below?
ABOUT PUNGENT GUNA
Pungency is characterized by irritation, or sharp, spicy foods that irritate the mouth such as black pepper.
LEARN MORE ABOUT PUNGENT
ABOUT BITTER GUNA
Bitter is disagreeable and stimulating rejection, and a strong taste often associated with black coffee, dark chocolate, and most salad greens.
LEARN MORE ABOUT BITTER
The Three Doshas / Body Types
People tend to get sick, over and over again, due to similar causes and habitual imbalances that are unique to the person.
Your body type summarizes this tendency, showing you the 'type' of conditions and imbalances that frequently challenge your health & wellness.
Using body type, you can also identify remedies likely to improve your strength and resiliency.
Your body type identifies physical and mental characteristics as well as your personal strengths and weaknesses.
The calculation of your body type is based on your medical history.
The 3 functional body types
are Catabolic (Vata), Metabolic (Pitta), and Anabolic (Kapha).
Catabolic individuals tend to break down body mass into energy.
Metabolic individuals tend to burn or use energy.
Anabolic individuals tend to store energy as body mass.
Catabolic people tend to be easily stimulated, hyperactive, underweight and dry.
Metabolic people tend to be rosy-cheeked, easily irritated, focused, driven, and easily inflamed.
Anabolic people are heavy, stable and grounded, but if they store too much energy, they could gain weight easily and have congestion.
HAS THE FOLLOWING
An herb or food that makes the urine more alkaline (higher pH). This herbal action can be helpful for a number of inflammatory conditions.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ALKALIZING
Prana is the Sanskrit word for vital life energy, similar to Qi in Chinese Medicine. Many herbs stimulate your energy, or improve the flow of prana through your body. Generally, prana needs to be increased in spring after a sleepy winter.
LEARN MORE ABOUT PRANA
Sattvic foods promote awareness and a refreshed mind by nourishing the body without taxing digestion. Sattvic foods do not stimulate desire or nervous energy. They create clarity instead of drowsiness or heaviness.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SATTVIC
Herbs that increase tejas improve metabolism & brightness by stimulating the fire element at a cellular level. Destroys toxicity, excess fluids, & improves digestion. Also helps with mental function such as poor memory, lack of inspiration & depression.
LEARN MORE ABOUT TEJAS
A member of the plant family Solanaceae. Members of this family have a tendency to irritate the liver and arthritic conditions. Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and bell peppers.
LEARN MORE ABOUT NIGHTSHADE
Experiences are Personal
Experiences vary according to the person and constitution. Individual results may vary.
The list of actions below has not be approved by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
Stimulates the release of gas. Helpful for bloating or cramping abdominal pain. Propels food downward.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CARMINATIVE
Cleanse and Detox:
An herb that detoxifies by helping your body metabolize toxins, as opposed to eliminating them.
LEARN MORE ABOUT BURNS-TOXINS
Energy Vitality Strength:
Heart & Circulation:
Herbs that increase the heart rate. Useful in cardiovascular health, blood stagnation, and subjective feeling of heaviness in the chest area.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CARDIAC-STIMULANT
A vasodilator is an herb that widens the blood vessels by the relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the vessel walls, thereby increasing circulation systemically or to a local area.
LEARN MORE ABOUT VASODILATOR
Literally, an herb that restores the proper function of the body. In practice, alteratives are usually blood cleansers and blood chemistry balancers. They were traditionally used to revitalize and detoxify after a long winter.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ALTERATIVE
An agent that kills microorganisms or inhibits their growth. Antimicrobial is an umbrella term that can be broken down into specific categories of target microorganism, such as anti-bacterials, fungals, and virals.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ANTIMICROBIAL
Kidney & Urinary:
Herbs that promote urine formation, thereby flushing the kidneys and urinary tract while eliminating any excess water retention. As diuretics reduce water retention, they are often used to reduce blood pressure.
LEARN MORE ABOUT DIURETIC
Liver & Gall Bladder:
Cholagogues stimulate the release of bile from the gall bladder for improved digestion.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CHOLAGOGUE
Lung and Sinus:
Herbs that help you cough up and eliminate mucus. These herbs often work by increasing the quantity of mucus, or thinning the mucus.
LEARN MORE ABOUT EXPECTORANT
Herbs which stimulate blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus. They are used to increase scanty menstruation, relieve menstrual pain, and other functions.
LEARN MORE ABOUT EMMENOGOGUE
Promotes a bowel movement. General laxative is an umbrella term that refers to several different types of laxatives...
LEARN MORE ABOUT GENERAL-LAXATIVE
An herb that softens stool that is hard and difficult to pass. They are the safest and most gentle type of laxative. Some foods are even stool softeners, such as warm milk with ghee.
LEARN MORE ABOUT STOOL-SOFTENER
Are you struggling with your health?
Learn how to feel your best
by balancing your diet in just a week.
How to Use Food Ayurvedically
HOW DOES EATING AYURVEDICALLY MAKE YOU FEEL?
Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. Food digests with ease when
right for your body type (dosha). Healthy digestion is seen as the cornerstone of well-being in
Ayurveda. Healthy digestion generally prevents illness. If you do get sick, a strong digestive fire
reduces the severity of illness and increases your resilience. It also improves your mood. Once
you begin eating Ayurvedically, you will feel refreshed, vital and strong.
About the Author
John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a
healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda.
His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful.
His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week
provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands.
John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda
, which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition.
John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia.
John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion.
John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing.
In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots,
and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church.
Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick.
That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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(4.67 out of 5 stars) 9 reviews, 953 likes
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I fixed this for dinner last night. It was delicious! My kids and husband both loved it. Thank you!
My daughter made some of this for me. It was delicious, so now I have the recipe and I will be making it for myself and my husband. Joyce, Greeley, CO
I made this and I loved it. I did add some root vegatables and adjusted the recipe a bit. I also served it with yogurt on top. Very good:)
Even though the instructions weren't very good, the result was good.
Please tell us how the instructions can be improved.
- David McKaig, Swannanoa, NC 09-01-14
Very nice and warming !
Elan! You can squeeze the lime atop the daal afterwards as a garnish. Don't cook it!
- Natalie Immel, Asheville, NC 04-06-15
what are we supposed to do with the lime?
Elan! You can squeeze the lime atop the daal afterwards as a garnish. Don't cook it!
- Natalie Immel, Asheville, NC 04-06-15
Thanks, gonna try this for lunch today
If using Hingvastak Churna do we simply add it to this recipe or substitute it for some of the spices listed? I'd appreciate a detailed dal recipe using the hingvastak churna -- I bought it a while ago but haven't used it yet. Thanks!
- Janet Cox, Waite hill, OH 04-06-15
Janet - you can definitely use hingvashtak in places of the spices in this recipe...1/4-1/2 tsp per serving to start. Spices are generally flexible, so just make it appeal to your taste buds and you should be good!
- Natalie Immel, Asheville, NC 04-07-15
Is there an onion that is better for kosha
- Tina, San jose, CA 10-11-15
Kapha can substitute raw red onion.
Just made this with yellow lentils. OMG amazing.
- Kristy Meyer, St. louis, MO 03-11-16
I used mung beans, split garbanzo beans and teff in place of red lentils. I also added 2 small sliced zuchinni, 2 sliced carrots and 1/2 cup of sliced green beans. Very filling and we will make it again.
This was my first venture into the Ayurvedic diet. I love this recipe!
To improve the recipe's clarity:Specificity of cook times and temperatures would be great, for starters. The blurb below the recipe mentions soaking, but that's nowhere to be found in the recipe. A small complaint, but it'd be nice to have the ingredients listed in the order that we'll use them in, as most recipes do. Is the cilantro the fresh leafy part? Does it go on top at the end, as the lime does (also not mentioned)? I ended up googling another dal recipe to get ideas about soak time and cook time. So I ended up with this, which tasted lovely:Soak lentils 30 min, rinseBring to boil with 2x water, skinAdd ginger, garlic, and tomatoSimmer 30 min, then do the spice oil. Add finishing ingredients (I did cilantro and fresh red onion here rather than yellow onions earlier).Cheers!
I've updated the instructions to include soaking and simmering time along with when to add the cilantro and lime. Our ingredients list always appears in alphabetical order. The leaves and stems of fresh cilantro can be used. Thank you for your feedback!
- Kimberly Kubicke, Asbury park, NJ 07-24-18