This ginger dal is easy to make and comes together with simple pantry ingredients. It is the perfect meal for busy people who want something fast, nourishing, and simple to make.
This post was originally published in 2014 but has been updated with new photos. This is part of a new series called, Vegan for Everybody where I share simple, affordable, healthy, and easy to make recipes that everyone can make.
When I was in my early 20s I lived in a big house full of other students. It was a diverse group of people, but we worked well together to create our own type of family—we had the spunky daughter, the weird uncle, the moody ‘teen’, the 80’s dad, and the overbearing mum—and of course, I was the mum. I often took on the role to feed the family and all the other tagalongs and vagabonds that would join us for dinner. I would usually turn to my favourite one-pot dishes for easy clean-up, beans to suit the vegetarians, and large enough quantities to be able to feed an average of ten dinner guests. Chilli was a common sight on the menu, as was a cabbage roll stew, peanut stew, plus some haphazard Mexi-inspired dishes, but my favourite was this ginger dal.
Dals are a great meal for students, parents, or those who need extra hours in the day—they require minimal effort, are simple to put together, and can be left to simmer until done. I kept this recipe basic, but it can be easily jazzed up by adding a handful of fresh chopped spinach at the end, fresh chopped tomato, or topped with roasted yams, carrots, or cauliflower.
- coconut or avocado oil
- red lentils
- ground turmeric
- cumin seeds
- coriander seeds
- yellow potato
- sea salt
This ginger dal is very fast and easy to make. You simply sautee the onion, ginger, and garlic, then add the lentils, spices, and veggies along with some water. This will cook on a low heat and simmer for 40-50 minutes. Meanwhile, you can cook rice and make your chhonk.
To make chhonk (whole roasted spices), heat the oil in a small pan until hot Add the seeds and toast until they become fragrant, then pour the warm oil and spices over the cooled dal. This chhonk is essential for the ginger dal to taste delicious—this is a step that cannot be missed!
Tips + Notes
The world dal doesn’t actually refer to a dish but to the lentil itself. Once a lentil is split and the outer casing is removed it becomes dal. For this recipe, I used split red lentils which just happen to be my favourite type (I used Flourist Canadian lentils), but other kinds such as mung dal (split mung beans) work just as well.
The lentil base of this meal provides an excellent source of protein (comparable to meat), complex carbohydrates, vitamin B, folic acid, iron, zinc, and little fat—all of which help add to it being pretty amazing.
- if you don't have red lentils, use other quick-cooking dal like mung dal
- add carrots or chopped beats instead of potato
- add chopped or cherry tomato instead of or as well as potatoes
- serve over rice or with bread if you prefer
- we like ours garnished with yoghurt, raisins, and coconut, but feel free to add chutney, more herbs, or raita on top
More Vegan for Everyone Recipes
- Cozy Vegan Baked Beans
- Easy Baked Yam with Cashew Cream
- Creamy Black Bean Soup
- Fresh Vegan Kale Pesto Pasta
- 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. finely grated ginger (I love to use a Microplane)
- 1 Tbsp. coconut or avocado oil
- 4 cups of water
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 cup chopped yellow potato (about 1 potato)
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil or avocado oil
- 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp. whole coriander seeds
- 1 dried red chilli (optional)
To Serve, optional
- Toasted Coconut
- Chilli Flakes
- Begin by heating 1 Tbsp. oil in a pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes or until it begins to soften. Next, add the ginger and garlic and saute for 2 or 3 more minutes, or until fragrant.
- Add the turmeric and 1/2 tsp. ground cumin along with the lentils, water, and potato. Bring this mixture to a boil, then cover and turn down to a low simmer (I let it cook on the lowest setting possible) for 40-50 minutes, or until the potatoes and lentils are softened.
- Meanwhile, make to chhonk (the flavoured oil). Heat the 2 Tbsp. oil in a frying pan until it begins to shimmer. Add the whole cumin and coriander seeds and cook for a few minutes or until toasty and fragrant—watch them, they will burn quickly. Remove from the heat and add the dried chilli if desired.
- Season the cooked dal with the sea salt and lemon. Stir the chhonk into the dal. Taste and adjust as needed.
- Serve with bread or rice and garnish as desired.
I like to eat my dal with a buttered slice of wholegrain bread, but you can also serve it on quinoa, rice, or alongside any flatbread.