• Prep Time:
  • Cooking Time:
  • Serves: 4 Servings

Bengali Red Lentil Dal

  • Recipe Submitted by on

Category: Vegetables

 Ingredients List

  • 1 1/2 c Red lentils
  • 3 1/2 c Water
  • 6 Serrano chilies (or 3
  • -jalepeno?); either whole or
  • -sliced in quarters
  • 1/4 ts Turmeric; or more to taste
  • 1 1/2 ts Salt
  • 4 tb Ghee; butter or vegetable
  • -oil
  • 1 c Minced onions
  • 1 c Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tb Grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tb Ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 tb Panch phanon mix
  • 4 Dried small red chilies
  • 1 -(up to)
  • 3 Cloves garlic


Key spice: Panch Phanon Mix, also known as Five Spice (do not substitute
Chinese Five Spice!) Equal proportions of whole cumin, fenugreek, anise,
mustard, "Indian black onion" seeds (kalunji). You will need to go to an
Indian Store to get the last ingredient. It is not related to the onion.

There are three basic steps to this recipe: cooking the lentils in water,
making a tomato/onion/ginger mush, and making a spiced oil.

1. Rinse lentils well, add water, serrano chilies, turmeric and salt. Bring
carefully to boil and cook over low to medium heat, partially covered, for
25 minutes. Cover and cook another 10 minutes. Adjust salt.

2. While lentils are cooking, cook onions in a frying pan in the oil until
they are golden brown (approximately 10 minutes), stirring constantly. Add
tomatoes and ginger and continue cooking until the tomatoes decompose into
a delicious and fragrant mush (approximately 8 minutes.) Stir constantly so
that tomato mixture doesn't stick. Turn heat to low if necessary.

3. Scrape out this mush into the lentils and stir it in. Let lentils sit
while you make the spiced oil.

4. Do a quick rinse of the frying pan, without soap, and dry thoroughly.
Add the remaining 2T oil and heat over medium high heat. When oil is hot
add panch phanon mix and heat until the seeds begin to pop, about 15
seconds. Add red chilies and fry for another 15 seconds, until they turn a
little darker. Turn off heat and add the crushed garlic and let sizzle for
about 30 seconds. Stir this mixture into the lentil/tomato mixture and
serve with rice. Adjust salt.

NOTE: Using ghee changes the taste compared with oil. I prefer it for step
4. It tastes good either way though.

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