Bengali Red Lentil Dal Recipe

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Servings: 4


Cost per serving $0.75 view details
  • 1 1/2 c. Red lentils
  • 3 1/2 c. Water
  • 6 x Serrano chilies (or possibly 3 jalepeno), either whole or possibly sliced in quarters
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric, or possibly more to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 4 Tbsp. Ghee, butter or possibly vegetable oil
  • 1 c. Chopped onions
  • 1 c. Minced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. Grated fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. Ghee or possibly vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Panch phanon mix
  • 4 x Dry small red chilies
  • 1 x -(up to)
  • 3 x Cloves garlic


  1. Key spice: Panch Phanon Mix, also known as Five Spice (don't substitute Chinese Five Spice!) Equal proportions of whole cumin, fenugreek, anise, mustard, "Indian black onion" seeds (kalunji). You will need to go to an Indian Store to get the last ingredient. It is not related to the onion.
  2. There are three basic steps to this recipe: cooking the lentils in water, making a tomato/onion/ginger mush, and making a spiced oil.
  3. 1. Rinse lentils well, add in water, serrano chilies, turmeric and salt. Bring carefully to boil and cook over low to medium heat, partially covered, for 25 min. Cover and cook another 10 min. Adjust salt.
  4. 2. While lentils are cooking, cook onions in a frying pan in the oil till they are golden (approximately 10 min), stirring constantly. Add in tomatoes and ginger and continue cooking till the tomatoes decompose into a delicious and fragrant mush (approximately 8 min.) Stir constantly so which tomato mix doesn't stick. Turn heat to low if necessary.
  5. 3. Scrape out this mush into the lentils and stir it in. Let lentils sit while you make the spiced oil.
  6. 4. Do a quick rinse of the frying pan, without soap, and dry thoroughly.
  7. Add in the remaining 2T oil and heat over medium high heat. When oil is warm add in panch phanon mix and heat till the seeds begin to pop, about 15 seconds. Add in red chilies and fry for another 15 seconds, till they turn a little darker. Turn off heat and add in the crushed garlic and let sizzle for about 30 seconds. Stir this mix into the lentil/tomato mix and serve with rice. Adjust salt.
  8. NOTE: Using ghee changes the taste compared with oil. I prefer it for step 4. It tastes good either way though.


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Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving %DV
Serving Size 415g
Recipe makes 4 servings
Calories 463  
Calories from Fat 181 39%
Total Fat 20.11g 25%
Saturated Fat 12.05g 48%
Trans Fat 0.0g  
Cholesterol 49mg 16%
Sodium 892mg 37%
Potassium 978mg 28%
Total Carbs 52.64g 14%
Dietary Fiber 23.9g 80%
Sugars 5.94g 4%
Protein 20.3g 32%
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