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One-pot masala dhal

06 May 2016

A quick, easy and healthy dhal recipe from Kimberly Parsons, author of The Yoga Kitchen.

One-pot masala dhal
One-pot masala dhal

Cooking time

35 minutes




For the masala paste

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2cm (3/4 in) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garam marsala
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée (paste)
  • Bunch of coriander leaves

For the dhal

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons masala paste (see above)
  • 160g (5 1/2oz/generous 3/4 cup) chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml (14fl oz/13 1 3/4 cups) coconut milk
  • 100g (3 1/2oz/generous 1/3 cup) red lentils
  • 50g (2oz/1 cup) spinach
  • Coriander leaves and Greek yoghurt, to garnish


This fragrant dhal is a real crowd- pleaser. Smooth and creamy in texture, the use of red lentils means this dhal can be ready and enjoyed much quicker than when using other varieties of lentils. You can even substitute with ready-cooked chickpeas for an even faster on- the-go meal. Extra paste can be kept in an airtight container.

To make the masala paste, toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a frying pan until fragrant, then place in a mortar and pestle and grind them together.

Tip them into a small food processor, add the ginger, chilli flakes, smoked paprika, garam masala, and salt and pulse a few times to incorporate. Next, add the coconut oil, tomato purée and coriander leaves and pulse again until a smooth paste forms. Set aside.

To make the curry, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the coconut oil and onion and sauté for 4–5 minutes until translucent. 

Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Stir in the masala paste and cook for a further 1–2 minutes, stirring. 

Now add the chopped tomatoes and coconut milk, stirring everything together. Taste a little of the sauce and add a little more masala paste if needed. Bring to the boil. Add the lentils and reduce the heat to medium–low.

Give the curry a stir every now and then until the lentils are tender, about 20–25 minutes.

Remove from the heat and fold in the spinach. Season with salt and pepper and serve garnished with coriander leaves and a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

Recipe from The Yoga Kitchen by Kimberly Parsons (Quadrille £20) Photography: Lisa Cohen

Visit our Indian recipes section for more Indian cooking ideas.


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