"It's not much but it's ours"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Of all the recipes I have ever posted on DH, this simple one for a family recipe of red lentils cooked with spices and lemons is by far the most requested.

I can understand why. LSD is one of the most comforting dishes you can ever imagine. Like a Bengali version of chicken soup, a dish that nourishes both body and soul. It is the dish I turn to when I am in ill health and it was the dish I turned to when I returned home from work one day and decided to set out on the journey that became Eat My Globe.

I caution people, however, that this is not a quick dish to bring to the table. It is a dish that demands to be prepared with patience and love. But, it is oh so worth the effort. The smell of the lentils toasting in the pan as you stir them with your hands. The aroma of onions, chilli, garlic and spices as you let them fry gently to release their flavours and the subtle note of citrus of the end result as you spoon the dahl over a couple of hard boiled eggs.

This is a perfect dish served on its own or with a simple yoghurt chicken curry, some plain boiled rice and a raita of mint, cucumber and toasted nigella seeds.

It is, I can say without hesitation, the food I love the most and I hope at least some of you will give it a try and let me know what you think.


1 cup of red lentils (toasted first in a dry pan. I use my fingers to stir and when it is too hot to touch, it is done)
1 unwaxed lemon chopped in quarters
1 onion sliced
2 cardamom pods
2 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves garlic
3 fresh green chillies
2 inches of fresh ginger
1 tsp each of ground turmeric/ginger/cumin/coriander seed/hot chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 Pints of water, chicken or vegetable stock
1 Bag of spinach ( washed )


Make a paste by blending the ginger/garlic/fresh chilli with a little salt and water.

Put 2 tablespoons of oil into a hot pan and when it comes to heat, add the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon stick. Cook for 1 minute on a low heat until they release their flavour.

Add the onion and cook on a low heat until it begins to soften and turn golden. Don't rush this, you want the natural sweetness of the onions to be released.

Add the ginger/chilli/garlic paste and cook for two to four minutes until it loses its rawness.

Add the ground spices, sugar and salt and mix well with the onions and cook out
for 4 mins until the spices lose their rawness. If the mixture begins
to stick add a little water.

Add the lentils and mix well so all the pulses are covered with the mixture.

Add 1 1/2 pints of water/stock and the quartered lemons and simmer for 30 mins until the lentils have broken down. Add more water if it sticks. Some lentils may take a little longer

Add the spinach, cover and allow to wilt into the lentis

The end result is quite a watery Dahl which is great served over a hard boiled egg

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Anonymous Manisha said...

Hmmmn..lovely! Your pictures are marvellous!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 5:14:00 pm  
Anonymous The Grubworm said...

I love love love dahl, it' a cureall right up there with my mum's chicken soup and a good cuppa. This recipe looks like the real deal too - a few more ingredients than others i have come across makes this more of the main event rather than a side. This is bookmarked for future use.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 6:50:00 pm  
Anonymous JimT said...

Sounds delicious... may have to try this tonight.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 9:31:00 am  
Blogger Grobelaar said...

I've made dahl once in my life and it was excellent - it was the method where you make a basic fairly bland lentil stew - then take a metal ladle filled with oil - heat it over the gas - when smoking toss a load of spices into it - cumin seeds, chilli flakes etc - then plunge the whole spitting, sizzling thing into the dahl with the pan lid to protect you from getting a red hot cumin seed in the eye. Was great fun, my ladle is still discoloured though.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 12:23:00 pm  
Blogger Lester Fontayne said...

Wow. I've just polished off a bowl of this and it was every bit as good as you said it would be. This one's a keeper. Thanks.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 2:03:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

@Manisha - thanks. A bit blurry, but hey, so am I

@The Grubworm. It makes a great dish in its own right and when I add the spinach and eggs it has everything you need (except a big steak, of course)

@Lester - I guarantee, you will begin craving it again soon

@Grobelar - that would be the tadka dahl, It's great, but as you say, potentially lethal

@JimT let me know how you get on if you make it

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 3:54:00 pm  
Anonymous Su-Lin said...

I've been meaning to try your recipe - thanks for posting it again.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 5:39:00 pm  
Blogger The knife said...

This mushuri dal made by my Bengali mom has won my Parsi wife over. Your touch of eggs would make it even better.

My mom said that when they were England they would occasionally make a Bengali curry and crack eggs into them. Would take an amoeba-like shape as in the hot curry.

Enjoy your daal

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 9:11:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I almost never post online but had to after the LSD daal cured my cold where Berocca and Beechams failed. My husband and 18 month old thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you.
I think we're off to buy some ribs.

Thursday, April 22, 2010 1:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Helen said...

It's the lemons in this which make it for me. Such a brilliant trick. I now add them to every dhal I make.

Sunday, April 25, 2010 9:26:00 pm  
Blogger Katherine said...

I made this last night and it's definitely becoming one of my go-to recipes. I live near Brick Lane, which can be frustrating in that you can smell curries all the time, but actually purchasing one is likely to be a disappointing affair. Not LSD! Delicious and lemony.

Friday, April 30, 2010 12:56:00 pm  
Anonymous Elana said...

That looks delicious. I just got a bunch of cooking stuff for my new apartment from a restaurant equipment store, and I am going to have to try this. I am enjoying your blog

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 5:50:00 pm  

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