This classic creamy tomato dhal is super easy to make, ultra-nourishing as it's full of the goodness of protein & fibre rich lentils, as well as being the perfect comfort food for a dull autumn or winter day.
Now, is it dhal, daal, or dal? I'm never sure! But just imagine my Aussie twang saying "how's your dal Dhal?" Well, I'll tell you now, mine's lush!
This easy to make dish is well-loved due to its subtle spicing and creamy dreamy texture. I like to make my dhal on the thicker side, to make it easier to scoop up with lovely flakey roti, but you can also add a little extra water for a thinner, soupier dal.
These are some of the key ingredients in this delicious dhal.
Red lentils - I used split red lentils in this dhal, which only take around 15 minutes to cook. No need to presoak! yay!... Of course, you could also use yellow lentils or even yellow split peas, all would be delicious.
Tomatoes - I love making it with tomatoes as they add a lovely tang. You can easily just add in a tin/can of tomatoes if you like, or the equivalent weight of ripe cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes give those delicious bursts of flavour.
Coconut milk - I'm obsessed with coconut-based curries; it helps make them so rich and creamy. So I always have tins/cans of coconut milk around. I love the Biona brand as it's pure coconut milk, with no additives. You'd be surprised to read the labels of standard tins/can!
Vegetable stock - this is a great ingredient for curries and soups. It adds extra flavour to these sorts of wet dishes.
What's great about this dhal, is that it's nice and quick to make! Here's how it's done in summary, plus some handy step by step photos below.
👩🏽🍳 Chop up and sautee garlic, onion and ginger. Add the spices and toast for a minute.
👩🏽🍳 Add the lentils and water, and cook until the lentils are soft (about 20 minutes).
👩🏽🍳 Add the stock, coconut milk and tomatoes.
👩🏽🍳 Once it's nice and creamy, and the tomatoes have started to disintegrate, then it's ready to serve.
Yes! It freezes very well. Vanessa is known for having a freezer packed full of this dhal!
Yes. It's a great dish for cooking the night before (and it gives more time for the flavours to become more intense). It will keep in the fridge for a good 4 days.
You can reduce or add more chilli depending on your tastes.
Well I suggest serving some pakoras with this dhal, which are another traditional Indian dish. I love our Leek and Celeriac Pakoras with Vegan Raita.
Mopping up those dhal juices is essential, and luckily we have two AMAZING bread recipes.
If you loved this creamy dhal, then I think you'll love:
- Vegan Spinach & Potato Curry (Saag Aloo)
- Butternut Squash & Carlin Pea Curry
- Lentil Koftas with Tomato Curry Coconut Sauce
Let us know in the comments if you make this comforting Tomato Dhal... we love to hear how you served it up, or are here to answer any questions you might have xx
Easy Creamy Tomato Dhal
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or any other neutral oil)
- 1 medium onion
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoon turmeric
- 500 ml (2 cups) water
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
- 400 ml (1⅔ cups) full fat coconut milk (equivalent 1 tin/can)
- 750 ml (3¼ cups) vegetable stock
- 400 g (2¼ cups) red lentils (rinsed)
- 400 g (2 cups ) cherry tomatoes, halved (OR one 400g tin/can of crushed/chopped tomatoes )
- Handful Fresh coriander (chopped)
- Vegan roti (optional)
- Start the daal by heating the oil in a large saucepan. Once hot add the onions and fry until translucent, then add the garlic, ginger, coriander, curry powder, turmeric, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Fry for a few minutes to let the flavours infuse.
- Add the water and the lentils. Cook for around 20 mins until the lentils are soft.
- Next add the coconut milk and vegetable stock. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Add the chopped fresh or tinned tomatoes. Cook for another 10 minutes.
- To serve ,add some chopped coriander and serve with roti and an assortment of chutneys if you like.