This is the way that I make Dal.This has to be one of my favourite comfort foods. I love it served with a potato mash with chilli and garam masala. Sometimes I don’t even bother with the potato.


  • Dal

  • 25 g Butter

  • 2 tablespoons Sunflower Oil

  • 1 Onion chopped

  • 2 Garlic Cloves crushed

  • 1 small Red chilli seeded and chopped

  • 1 small Pinch of Asafoetida optional

  • 225 g Red Lentils Masoor Dal

  • 700 ml Water

  • 2 teaspoons Ground cumin seeds

  • 0.5 teaspoon Ground Turmeric

  • 1 tablespoon chopped Coriander

  • Chilli and Garam Masala Mash

  • 1 kg Potato scrubbed in their skins

  • 3-6 Garlic Clove peeled

  • 50 g Butter

  • 150-300ml Boiling Milk

  • 1 Red chilli deseeded and chopped

  • 1.5 teaspoons garam masala

  • 2 tablespoons Chopped Coriander


  • Dal:

  • 1.

    Melt the butter in a saucepan with the oil, add the onions, garlic , chilli, asafoetida (if using) and a pinch of salt.

  • 2.

    Cook on a low heat until the onions are soft.

  • 3.

    Add the lentils and stir around for a few seconds and add about ¼ of the water, simmer slowly until the water has reduced and been absorbed into the lentils.

  • 4.

    Add some more water, cook again and repeat the process until the lentils are cooked and the water has all been absorbed into the dal.

  • 5.

    Add the cumin to taste, the turmeric, chopped coriander and another pinch of salt if it needs it.

  • 6.

    This can be reheated over a low flame.

  • Chilli and Garam Masala Mash:

  • 1.

    Scrub the potatoes in their skins and put into a saucepan, fill up with water and a good pinch of salt and bring up to the boil.

  • 2.

    After 5 mins of boiling, pour off most of the water, leaving about 3cm of water in the bottom and continue cooking on a lowish heat now, checking every so often that the water has not evaporated and leaving you with a burnt bottom!!

  • 3.

    20 mins after the potatoes have gone in to cook, put the whole garlic cloves into the saucepan, they should be cooked by the time the potatoes are.

  • 4.

    When they are all cooked, take the potatoes out and peel them with a knife and mash the potatoes and garlic.

  • 5.

    Add butter, a little boiling milk, the chilli, garam masala, some salt and chopped coriander.

  • 6.

    Check for seasoning and add more milk,or spices as required.

  • 7.

    Serve with the dal and a bowl of red onion raita , or cucumber raita (See my other recipes) and scatter coriander leaves over the top. Chilli bread is excellent with this, particularly if you are leaving out the mash.


* Make sure the potatoes are completely mashed before adding the boiling milk otherwise they will stay lumpy.
* Garam masala is one of the many Indian spice mixes, and you can buy it ready made and there are many different recipes for making it. This is one that I normally use so if you want to make it yourself just keep any leftover in an airtight container. Whizz up 2 tsp of green cardamon seeds,1/2 tsp each of cumin seeds, cloves,black peppercorns, nutmeg and a 2cm piece of cinnamon,until nice and fine.

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