South Asian-Style Dahl

Makes 5 servings

One of my favourite cuisines is South Asian. I will never purport that I am an expert, but I am a huge fan.

This is not only a yumfest, it’s nutrient dense, easy to make and economical.

One of the tricks for making a fabulous dahl that I learned from my neighbour Saleem, is to have all your ingredients ready and waiting to hit the skillet, once you turn on the heat this recipe can be ready in about 15 minutes.

This main course is vegetarian and vegan.


Make or have on hand:

2.5  cups cooked quinoa or basmati rice


Spice Blend:

1 ½ tsp dry mustard powder
1 ½ tsp ground turmeric

1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp freshly cracked coarse black pepper

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground coriander

1 tsp table salt

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, optional


2 Tbsp canola oil

2 onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger, packed well

2 ½ cups water

1 cup red lentils
2 cups whole grape tomatoes or chopped tomatoes to make 2 cups

2 cups packed Swiss chard or spinach, rinsed


  1. To make Spice Blend: in a small bowl whisk together mustard powder, turmeric, cumin, pepper, cinnamon, coriander, salt and red pepper flakes if using. Set aside.
  2. To make the Dahl: heat a 12 or 14-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat, add oil and onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until the onions starts to turn a golden colour. Add garlic, ginger and the Spice Blend, stir in well.
  3. Add water, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. This will help prevent the dahl from sticking during cooking. Rinse lentils and add, stirring in well. Add tomatoes and stir in, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, it should still be bubbling, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid and using the back of the wooden spoon, smash each tomato and stir well. Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for an extra 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add Swiss chard or spinach and stir until it has wilted.


Makes 5 servings

Professional home eonomist tips:

This recipes freezes well. I freeze the extra serving and then warm it up for lunch.


This recipe is from Peace, Love & Fibre (appetite by Random House 2019) written by Mairlyn Smith P.H.Ec.

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