home economics

Dal, I find, is quite divisive. People either get it or they don't. A bit like IKEA. 

I love love love dal. Even before vegetarianism, I'd wheel this one out regularly. Luckily I've got number one son on board so I can make it more than twice a year even though the rest of the family aren't mad about it. 

(Truly, what's not to love about red lentils I ask you?!)

The provenance of my dal recipe is hazy. I think I first learnt to cook dal thanks to my darling friend Leah now two thousand kilometres north of Sydney who I once worked with and started a lunch club with, in which one person brought lunch in for three and then the next two days you had lunch cooked for you. It was totally fab. We'd do awesome salads and bring in cold quiche and swapped recipes like girls possessed. And Leah cooked a fabulously simple dal. I now cook this off the top of my head but I think this is where it came from. 


I cook dal because I love it. It's tasty and I can imagine one day eating it while hiking the Annapurna circuit in Nepal with Adam and the not so wee ones. 

But another reason I love it is because it costs about 10 cents to make. Well maybe not 10 cents but damn it's cheap. Well under $5 for an entire family dinner. And it's super nutritious. 

Gotta love that.

We usually have brown rice – in fact we rarely have white rice in the house. But I bought a big bag of jasmine to attempt to make my own rice crackers. Better get onto that before we eat it all!



1½ cups red lentils (approx 300g)

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 cm piece of fresh ginger, chopped

1 teaspoon ground tumeric



Cook the onion, garlic and ginger until soft in a splodge of oil (olive or vegie or macadamia nut – whatever you have handy.)

Add the tumeric and fry for another minute. 

Add the lentils and stir until coated. Then cover all with water and simmer until cooked, usually about 20-30 minutes. I keep checking and stirring and adding water if it's too dry. Season with salt. 

You can add chillis which spices the whole dish up (add with the tumeric) but I've been cooking this for kids for the last few years so I leave them out. 

I love this for one more reason: you can cook it one-handed! Chuck it all in. Stir. Serve. All with a baby with a headcold on your hip! Try it!



17 Comments on “home economics

Rachel @ suburban yogini
October 21, 2010 at 9:46 pm

I love Dal. My recipe is similar except I add a carrot or two!

October 21, 2010 at 10:17 pm

I add frozen spinach so that’s the dinner’s veg sorted. We love it.

And did you know that lentils plus rice have some weird chemistry that means the nutritional value together is greater than that of the parts? So I heard anyway. Hooray!

October 21, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Thanks- another awesome recipe. I used to think I was alright in the kitchen until I found my way here… Your recipes have pushed me right out of my box. I like the comments coz I was going to ask if I could add veg xx

October 22, 2010 at 3:33 am

I love dal. Could eat a LOT of that.

October 22, 2010 at 5:53 am

I’m on the fence. Never much liked it with take-away curries, but how can I resist a cheap and nutritious (and cheap! veggie recipe with a rave review like that?

So, definitelly going to try this, next week, probably with both the spinach and the carrots others suggested- I’ll let you know how we get on.

October 22, 2010 at 8:58 am

Dal. Dhal? Darl, love it. Mine has about three more ingredients but is pretty similar. You’re right, people either get it or they don’t. Rod does NOT get it. But I must say, I don’t know how you eat brown rice. Life’s too short, I say.

October 22, 2010 at 10:51 am

yep, mine’s the same, with a few extra comfort food

October 22, 2010 at 10:55 am

THAT is a GREAT idea!! Thanks!

October 22, 2010 at 10:56 am

Agree – commenters are comprehensive geniuses. (Particularly that one right above you.) Thanks Renee.

October 22, 2010 at 10:57 am

Really? I think brown rice is so much nicer! nuttier, more flavour… I can eat it plain! xx

October 22, 2010 at 10:59 am

Reems I think my entire repertoire is comfort food. Is there anything on this blog that isn’t? I should address that one day. I’m so completely unsophisticated. xx

October 22, 2010 at 12:24 pm

…there’s nothing comforting about brown rice.

October 24, 2010 at 3:56 pm

why did I think that making this was hard? think even I could try this…. but we have a non-ginger eater in the house, would it be bad without it?

October 24, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Lovely blog you have here! Just popped over on the recommendation of Kate @ Picklebums, so glad I did.

October 24, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Another lone dhal lover in the family here too. I often use the Patak’s madras curry paste as a base (no shares in the company-promise!) but throw in carrots and sweet potato and sometimes a tin of crushed tomatoes toward the end of cooking time. Fresh coriander and a big dollop of yogurt of yogurt on top and I am a happy woman. The other miraculous thing about dhal is that is is just as easy to make a giant pot and just freeze leftovers!

October 24, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Absolutely fine & lovely without ginger which frequently happens here when I go to the fridge and that lovely fresh knuckle of ginger now looks like a small twisted old brown paper bag. xx

March 19, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Just remember, with the Nepal trip you have to walk up mountains, not just around them haha, and Leah’s dahl is better than the wattery ones in Nepal but watery ones looking over the Himalaya are pretty spec’ too! Ness


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