Red Lentil Dal – For When Your Sick

I really thought I wouldn’t get sick this early in the season, but when I started hearing rumors of a cold going around I began to get this sinking feeling that I was next.  I’m one of those people who gets sick if a contagious person even looks in my direction.  I take vitamins, drink tea & OJ, eat a healthy diet, but I still get sick 2-3 times every cold season.

The first day of my cold I wanted nothing but soup, which of course I had none.  At lunch I dragged myself to the kitchen, sat on a stool at the stove and made a delicious and relatively simple garlic soup.  The smell of the garlic hitting the pan was enough to make my tummy rumble and my spirits lift.  For dinner I wanted something warm and hearty, but also a bit spicy to clear my head.  Elise from Simply Recipes had just posted her Red Lentil Dal, but I didn’t have some of the spices listed.  I used information from the comments and some research online to figure out a recipe using what spices I had.

The result was just what my head and stomach needed.  Thick and filling without being heavy.  Spicy enough to make my head feel clear, if only for 10 minutes.  I made enough for the next couple days and stuck it in the fridge.

You know, I think it tasted better the next day.  With a swirl of plain yogurt on top to balance the heat.

Hmm… I think there is still a bowl left… suddenly I am hungry.

Red Lentil Dal

Adapted from Elise Bauer’s Red Lentil Dal on Simple Recipes.

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried ground ginger
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

1.  Pour the lentils into a metal sieve or colander and rinse well.  Dump into a medium saucepan with 4 cups of water.  Bring this to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan heat a couple swirls of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring until the onions are soft, about 4 minutes.  Make sure not to burn them.  Add all the spices except the turmeric and stir continuously for an additional 2 minutes then add the turmeric and stir well.  Its going to look really dry, that’s ok.

3.  Pour the lentils and water into the pot with the spices and mix very well.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the halved tomatoes, salt & pepper.  Cook for 3-4 more minutes.  Serve with plain Greek yogurt or sour cream and a squeeze of lemon.

(Click on recipe card to save and print.  It is designed to be printed on 5×7 photo paper and stuck in a card file, on the fridge or given to a friend.)

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About Melissa

I live in beautiful Sonoma County, California with my adorable 9 year old daughter, my 18 month old son, my devoted husband, 3 falcons, a hawk, a rabbit named Rosella, a flock of pigeons, and a dog named Chaser. I am an avid knitter, our family chef and a passionate photographer.
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11 Responses to Red Lentil Dal – For When Your Sick

  1. Jacqui says:

    I’m not sick, but the last few days here have turned significantly cooler and have me craving soup. Lentil soup is one of my favorites!

  2. LisaK says:

    It looks good. I hope you feel better soon.

  3. Karen says:

    Just discovered your lovely blog. Sorry that you don’t feel well but very happy that you posted this recipe.

  4. My Fudo says:

    That will make any sick person back to their sporty feet. Looks so appetizing added with that delectable cream.

  5. I love red lentils and am always looking for a new recipes, this one looks great!

  6. Sarah Kaplan says:

    This looks delicious. There are few things I love more than lentil soup. Should we let the lentils soak overnight?

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