Thai Red Lentil Dal

Thai Red Lentil Dal

Thai Dal

This recipe was born from my original recipe for Thai Red Lentil Soup that I created years ago when I was still living in Massachusettes. We have six months of winter to try and stay warm, so soup was always part of my solution. The original recipe called for galangal, a cousin to ginger, but I wrote the recipe using ginger to make it more approachable; weird ingredients can sometimes turn people off. If you're curious about what galangal is, and how to use it, Faith Durand, from the Kitch'n has some great info about it here. If you want to experiment with something new, I highly recommend doing so, as it has a wonderfully aromatic citrusy flavor. that reminds a little of coriander. If not, the dal will be delicious anyway. The way the combination of  flavors come together, made me want to enjoy it  as a full meal with some brown rice and veggies, so I decided to turn it into dal, which is like a thick soup. In Sanskrit, dal means "split", referring to a pulse, or lentil, as most of us know it as. This recipe uses split red lentils, which don't need soaking and cook in about 15-20 minutes.

Red Lentils


Thai red lentil DaL

Yield: 6 servings


Ingredients - use organic whenevery possible

2 teaspoons unrefined coconut oil

1 1/2 cup split red lentils

1 cup onion, cut 1/4 inch cubes

1/2 cup celery, 1/4 inch cubes

2 teaspoons grated ginger or galangal

2 teaspoons grated garlic

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground curry

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Pinch of chili flake (aka crushed red pepper)

1 Tablespoon tomato paste, or 1/2 cup diced tomatoes with juice

1 Tablespoon tamari

1 cup coconut milk

3 cup vegetable stock, or 3 cups water + 1 bouillon cube

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon lime zest, about 1 lime

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, taste before adding


  1. In a small bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, curry, chili flakes and black pepper, and set aside
  2. Heat a 2 quart pot on high heat for about 45 seconds
  3. Add the coconut oil, along with the onions and celery. Lower the heat to  medium high heat and cook for about 2 minutes or until fragrant and translucent.
  4. Turn the heat down to low and add the ginger, garlic, and spices. Cook on low heat for about 1 - 2 minutes, or until your house smells like a Thaiwanese kitchen. Toasting the spices and aromatics really  develop the flavors.
  5. Add the tomato paste, coconut milk, tamari, and vegetable stock. Turn the heat back up to high and allow the dal to come to a boil. Once  it is boiling, turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. Cook on low heat for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are brokend down and soft. You won't be able to identify each individual lentil, but rather they will blend into each other  and be more like a porridge
  6. When the lentils are finished cooking, add in the cilantro, and lime zest. Taste before adding the salt, it may not need it if you're vegetalbe stock has a high sodium content.
  7. Your dal is now ready to enjoy. Serve it with a whole grain, such as brown rice, millet , or quinoa, and a heaping mound of leafy greens, snap peas, greens beans, or cauliflower
  8. Store the unused portion in an airtight container, allow it to cool and refrigerate for up to five days, or freeze for up to two month
Thai Red Lentil Dal Mis en Place