Dhal with onions

Dhal with onions

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  • 4
  • Easy
  • 10 minutes
  • 20 to 30 minutes


  • 2 1/2 t cumin seeds
  • 250 g red lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 ml turmeric
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped, plus extra to taste
  • 1 large fresh bunch of coriander, chopped, plus a few sprigs for garnishing
  • 15 ml canola oil
  • seeds of 3 pods cardamom
  • 1/2 t fenugreek
  • 2 - 3 large onions, halved and sliced
  • 3 - 4 large cloves garlic, cut into slivers
  • salt to taste
  • basmati rice, for serving

Cooking Instructions

Heat a small, dry frying pan, add 2ml (½t) whole cumin seeds and stir until their aroma is released. Remove from the heat. Using a pestle and mortar or a spice mill, coarsely crush the remaining cumin seeds.

Rinse the red lentils twice, place in a saucepan and cover with the water. Add 5ml (1t) crushed cumin and the turmeric. Boil over a medium heat for about 20 minutes, until the lentils break up and resemble soft mashed potato.

Add the chilli and coriander, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Keep warm. In a frying pan, heat the canola oil then add the cardamom and fenugreek. Gently stir for 1 minute before adding the onion.

Cook over a gentle heat, stirring from time to time, until the onion starts to brown. Add the garlic and continue cooking until it too changes colour. Add the remaining cumin and stir for 1 minute. Add salt to taste. Remove from the heat and cover the pan.

Serve the dhal on basmati rice. Top with the fried onion and garnish with fresh coriander and chilli, to taste.

Mariana Esterhuizen is the owner/chef of Marianas Home Deli and Bistro in Stanford, (028) 341-0272.

TASTE Recipe by: TASTE
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The TASTE team is a happy bunch of keen cooks and writers, always on the look out for the next food trend or the next piece of cake.

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