Winter Salads and Vegetables

My kind of Dhal


A very simple version of dhal and one you could happily make in less than an hour and eat as leftovers the next day. Nearly all the ingredients for this dhal can be found in the store cupboard, ready to make a nutritious dish at a moment’s notice.

Serves 2.

This recipe is taken from my first cookbook, In One Pot: Fresh Recipes for Every Occasion, W&N, 2013.

Photo courtesy of Simon Wheeler.


  • 200g red lentils
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 200g spinach or chard leaves, tough stems removed
  • 20g coriander, roughly chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • yoghurt, to serve (optional)


  • Soak the lentils in plenty of water while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy-based pot with a lid over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook fairly quickly so that it begins to brown. Stir in the garlic and cook until it is just starting to brown, then add the spices. Let this cook together for a minute or so to make an intensely fragrant base.
  • Add the tomatoes and another pinch of salt and let it cook for 10–15 minutes, or until reduced to a thick sauce. Meanwhile, rinse the lentils well and drain, then add them to the tomatoes. Stir everything together and add just enough water to cover.
  • Allow the lentils to simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach (or chard) leaves and coriander, cover and leave for 10 minutes or until the leaves wilt. Serve with hot naan or pitta bread and a spoonful of cucumber raita or cumin and coriander yoghurt.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *