Fall is all about comfort food. And when it comes to a quick dinner on a rainy day, there's nothing more comforting than hearty Indian red lentil dhal. If you're trying to reduce your salt intake, it's a great opportunity to play with spices, and turmeric is the perfect option.
This Ayurvedic spice is a must have ingredient in every pantry, because of its amazing healing properties. We often use it in drinks such as golden milk and lattes, but we also incorporate it in hearty, fall meals such as this carrot ginger soup or turmeric tortillas.
Turmeric — Known for its warm, peppery and slightly bitter flavor, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse that's been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine for centuries. Turmeric's yellow phytonutrient called curcumin gives the spice its intense yellow color and its renowned antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Black pepper —The effects of curcumin are catalyzed when combined with piperine, the active substance in black pepper, so always add freshly ground black pepper to your turmeric spiced dishes [source]
Red lentils — They cook fast and have a nutty flavor that makes this dhal come together. Moreover, red lentils are packed with fiber, protein, folate, iron, phosphorus and more, making them a staple in many international cuisines.
Cook the onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric in coconut oil for 2 minutes. Add lentils and water and let simmer for 15 minutes.
Add garam masala and coconut milk. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Hint: The red lentil dhal tastes best served warm, garnished with fresh parsley leaves, mixed seeds and a few drops of coconut milk.
Red lentils can be substituted for any other type of lentils, although note that the cooking time may differ.
Garam masala is commonly made by grinding a mix of spices (cinnamon, cardamon, black peppercorn, coriander seed, bay leave, cumin) which have previously been toasted in a pan. Should you need to skip this ingredient, you can replace it with curry powder, or a mix of four parts ground cumin to one part allspice.
The parsley garnish can be substituted for fresh coriander in a pinch.
- For an extra serving of greens, you can add a handful of spinach at the end, just enough for it to wilt.
- If you want stronger flavors in your red lentil dhal, feel free gradually increase the amount of spices, tasting ever so often until you reach the preferred taste.
Of course! Add Cayenne pepper or red chili flakes towards the end of the cooking time to give the red lentil dhal a kick. You can also top with Sriracha as needed.
The exact recipe will depend on the region, but Garam Masala ("hot spices") is generally a combination of cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, cloves, coriander seeds, bay leaves and peppercorn. Here is a well-rated recipe you might try.
More Turmeric Recipes
If you want more ways to incorporate turmeric into your routine, check out these recipes as well:
Healing Turmeric and Red Lentils Dhal
- Medium saucepan
- 2 cups red lentils
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 2 cups hot water
- 1 inch ginger piece peeled and grated
- 1 onion finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- Coconut milk mixed seeds and fresh parsley leaves, to garnish
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Rinse the red lentils with cold water and let drain.
- In a medium saucepan heat the coconut oil, add the onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric, and cook for two minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the lentils and water, bring to boil and let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add garam masala and coconut milk and mix to combine.
- Let simmer for another five minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and you obtain a porridge consistency.