This Gujarati dhal is from the North-West of India, and was shared to us by Meera Allen, who says it is "Delicious and nutritious, but it doesn’t leave you feeling heavy." Serve it with rice and coriander leaves, and don’t forget to finish it with lemon juice and a little sugar, Meera says it’s the secret ingredient.






Skill level

Average: 3 (44 votes)


  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground chilli
  • 300 g (1½ cups) red lentils
  • 1 litre water
  • 2 carrots, chopped (skin on)
  • 2 potatoes, chopped (skin on)
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ tsp asafoetida (see Note)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • brown sugar and lemon juice, to taste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Heat sesame oil in a pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and onion and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until onion is softened.

Stir in tomatoes and ground chilli, then red lentils and water. Add carrots and potatoes, ground turmeric, asafoetida and salt, and stir to combine.

Gently simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are soft; top up with more water if too thick.

Remove from heat, stir in olive oil, then add brown sugar and lemon juice.

Serve with rice, Gujarati Methia mango pickle and coriander sprigs.


• Available from Indian food shops.



Photography by Christopher Ireland.


As seen in Feast magazine, November 2011, Issue 3. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.