Dhal Curry

Dhal (also known as lentil) is a staple food in South Asia. Dhal is also a major source of protein in vegetarian diet. In Malaysia, we can get dhal in yellow or red colour from Indian grocery shops. Different colours of food have different nutrient. For example, Lycopene is found in red foods. The main benefit of lycopene is the maintenance of prostate health. (Link)

For this recipe, we choose red dhal instead of yellow dhal because food in red colour are much lesser available in the market. The best partners for dhal curry are chapati, naan, roti and rice.

We wash and soak red dhal overnight. 1 cup of dhal soak with 3 cups of water. The dhal turns to light yellow colour the next day. Don’t worry, that is normal. We boil dhal together with the water. We add in 1 tablespoon coconut oil and chopped ginger. We also add in 1 cardamon seed, 1 clove and 1 star anise and 1 cinnamon stick to enhance the aroma. Then, boil until the dhals are just tender. Then set it aside.

 Next, we prepare 2 chopped shallot, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 lemongrass stalk (I have a tip! Flatten it with wooden roller or knife for the fragrance comes out easily), chopped turmeric and 2 tomatoes, curry leaf and mixed Indian spices. For mixed Indian spices, you can get from Indian grocery stores as well)
First, we pour in 2 tablespoons coconut oil on heat pan. Then, put in 1 teaspoon mixed Indian spices. We fried it together with chopped garlics, shallots, curry leaf, chopped turmeric and lemongrass stalk  until it turns slightly roasted. Then, we add in cut tomatoes. Stir and fry for about 2-3 minutes. Then, mix 50 g of dhal/sambar curry powder with 100 liter of water. Then pour the mixture into the pan and assam water. Then cook for another 5 minutes.
Pour the mixture from the pan into the pot of dhal. Then boil for about 15 mins. Add a tablespoon sea salt for flavour.
Serve warm.
4-5 servings
  • dhal/ lentils 250 g
  • ginger 5-15 g
  • coconut oil
  • 1 cardamon seed
  • 1 clove
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • Indian’s mixed spices
  • curry leaf
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • turmeric 5-15 g
  • 1 lemongrass stalk (flatten with wooden roller or knife)
  • assam water
  • dhal / sambar curry powder
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt


  1. Soak 250 g / 1 cup of lentils overnight with 3 cups of water.
  2. Boil the lentils with the water ,1 tablespoon coconut oil, chopped ginger (5-15g), 1 cardamon, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise until the mixture become slightly tender. Then set it aside.
  3. Pour coconut oil in heat pan.
  4. Fry 1 teaspoon Indian’s mixed spices, 1 lemongrass stalk, chopped garlic, shallots, turmeric until roasted.
  5. Add in tomatoes and stir fry for 2-3 minutes
  6. Add in assam water and dhal/sambar curry powder mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes
  7. Add the above mixture into dhal mixture. Then cook for another 15 minutes.
  8. Add sea salt for flavour before serve.
  9. Enjoy!

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