Spicy Indian Lentil Stew (Daal)


  • ½ cup dry yellow lentils
  • ¼ cup dry red lentils
  • ¼ cup split mung beans
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 teaspoons ghee (clarified butter), divided
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 peppers green chile peppers, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Rinse the yellow lentils, red lentils, and mung beans and put them in a medium saucepan with 5 cups water, salt, turmeric, and 1 teaspoon ghee. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are easily mashed, about 30 minutes.


  • Step 2

    Heat remaining ghee in a frying pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and cook until they sputter. Add onion, chile peppers, and ginger; stir-fry until onions are soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and add cilantro and cayenne. Transfer mixture to lentils.

  • Step 3

    Let mixture simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

  • Cook's Notes:

    Any type of spicy pepper can be used in place of the chiles. For a milder dish, adjust or leave out the chiles and cayenne.

    This recipe is quite forgiving, and you can substitute types of lentils or spices according to what you have on hand. You can use oil instead of ghee.

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