Lentil-Potato Dal

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Dal – spelled daal, dhal and dahl as well – is a term used for legumes (that is, lentils, beans and peas) in the Indian subcontinent. It also refers to a variety of soups or stews prepared with any of the said ingredients. Most commonly, one tends to associate dal with a curry-laden lentil concoction, and that goes for us too. In our opinion, that’s just the best. Sometimes we make it without potatoes and serve it over rice instead (which, we’re not going to lie, is ridiculously yummy), but with potatoes already in there, it turns into a one-pot complete meal AND a much more eco-friendly alternative (naturally, buying locally grown potatoes is a far better choice than imported rice). Another great alternative is to serve it over wheat berries, which gives you some rice-like chewiness from a far more sustainable food source (at least for us up here in the north).

Dal is actually a particularly dear dish to me. In fact, one could say it’s travelled the world with me! My cousin and I spent five months road-tripping/backpacking in New Zealand and Australia back in 2012, and we cooked up dal in hostel kitchens and on a portable camping stove more times than I can count. To us, that was just the perfect meal. Cheap, nourishing and easy to make a big batch of so we’d have leftovers for days. Plus warming, which you might be surprised to hear we appreciated when traveling down under – but we did. New Zealand was as amazing as it was chilly, so a bowl of hot lentil stew was pretty much always a hit come nighttime. We did impress upon fellow travelers, I should add, when we were chopping and stirring away, digging out our collection of spice jars and infusing common rooms and camp grounds with curry smells, all the while they were hitting up instant noodles. Ah, fun memories.

And then we moved to NYC, my dal and I, and there we scored the handsome neighbor across the hall together. Yep, the recipe below was the first dinner I ever made Michael! And since then, it’s become our staple dinner food. We have it as often as we can, and love it so much. Hope you will too. From a sports nutrition standpoint, this is a goldmine. Not only because you’ll meet your protein and carbohydrate requirements without a doubt, but also because you can make a big batch that will last many meals AND it reheats amazingly. Let us know what you think!

Serves 6-8, depending on appetite

2-3 tbsp coconut oil
250 g onions, chopped (equals 3 medium or about 5 dl)
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground or crushed cumin
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
550 g carrots, chopped (equals 5-6 medium or about 10 dl)
3 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped (a 5 cm piece)
1 kg waxy potatoes, cubed into 2 cm pieces
550 g dried red lentils, rinsed (6 dl)
1.2 l water
1500 g crushed tomatoes
4 dl coconut milk (1 can)
250 g spinach or chard (if using chard, cut off the thicker part of the stalks and reserve for another dish)
Additional 1-2 tsp salt


3-4 dl raw cashew nuts (180-240 g, or approx. ½ dl per serving)
1 ½ dl chopped cilantro
Optional: Greek yogurt

  1. Heat up the coconut oil in a large pot (probably the biggest one you have). Sauté onions over medium-low heat for about 5 min, before adding in the garlic. Continue cooking for another 2-3 min. Lower the heat just a little, and then add in all the spices: curry, coriander, cumin, chili, cinnamon and 1 tsp salt. Stir often to make sure it doesn’t burn, but don’t be afraid if it seems very dry – just stir away and let it get very fragrant, approx. 3 min.
  2. Add in the ginger and let it cook for a minute or two, before mixing in the carrots and potatoes. Stir around for another minute, then mix in the lentils. Allow one more minute of “dry” cooking.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium-high, and then add water, crushed tomatoes and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Stir often, almost every few minutes, to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom. If it seems to be thickening up too quickly, add in more water. The cooking time will vary slightly, but 20-35 min is a fair estimate. You want the potato cubes to be done, yet definitely on the firm side. Season to taste. We usually end up adding 1 ½ tsp more of salt.
  4. Serve in large bowls, topped with cashews, cilantro and an optional dollop of yogurt.

Nutritional information, based on 8 servings incl. ½ dl cashews and no yogurt per serving: Protein: 29 g Carbohydrates: 81 g Fat: 30.5 g Energy: 714 kcal

6-8 portioner

2-3 msk kokosolja
250 g lök, hackad (motsvarar ca. 3 st eller 5 dl)
6 st. vitlöksklyftor, finhackade eller pressade
3 msk curry
2 tsk malen koriander
1 msk krossad eller malen spiskummin
½ tsk chilipulver
¼ tsk malen kanel
1 tsk salt
550 g morötter, hackade (motsvarar ca. 5-6 st. eller 10 dl)
3 msk färsk ingefära, finhackad (ca. 5 cm stor bit)
1 kg fast potatis, skuren i 2 cm stora kuber
550 g torkade röda linser, avsköljda (6 dl)
1.2 liter vatten
1500 g krossade tomater
4 dl kokosmjölk (1 burk)
250 g spenat eller mangold (om du använder stora mangoldblad, bryt av den tjockaste delen av stjälken och spara till en annan rätt)
Ytterligare 1-2 tsp salt


3-4 dl naturella cashewnötter (180-240 g, eller ca. ½ dl per portion)
1 ½ dl hackad färsk koriander
Valfritt: grekisk yoghurt eller liknande

  1. Hetta upp kokosoljan i en stor gryta eller kastrull (förmodligen den största du äger). Fräs löken på medellåg värme i ca. 5 min, innan du tillsätter vitlöken. Fräs vidare i ytterligare 2-3 min. Sänk värmen en aning, och blanda sedan ner samtliga kryddor: curry, koriander, spiskummin, chili, kanel och 1 tsk salt. Rör mer eller mindre hela tiden för att undvika att det bränns vid, men bli inte orolig om det verkar torrt – rör bara vidare i ca. 3 min och låt dofterna fylla köket.
  2. Blanda ner ingefäran och låt den steka med i ca. 1-2 min, och tillsätt sedan potatis och morötter. Efter ytterligare en minut, rör ner linserna. “Torrstek” i någon minut till.
  3. Vrid sedan upp värmen till medelhög, och tillsätt vatten, krossade tomater och kokosmjölk. Låt koka upp, och sänk sedan värmen så att grytan sjuder fint. Rör ofta – mer eller mindre varje minut – för att motverka att det bränns vid (lätt hänt innan värmen på plattan reducerats ordentligt). Om grytan verkar tjockna snabbt, blanda ner mer vatten. Tillagningstiden varierar ofta litegrann, men 20-35 min är en god gissning. Potatisen ska vara genomkokt, men definitivt åt det fasta hållet (på gränsen till färdig). Smaksätt med salt. Vanligtvis tillsätter vi 1 ½ tsk mer.
  4. Servera i stora skålar, toppade med cashewnötter, färsk koriander och ev. en klick yoghurt.

Näringsinformation, baserat på 8 portioner inkl. ½ dl cashewnötter och ingen yoghurt per portion: Protein: 29 g Kolhydrater: 81 g Fett: 30.5 g Energi: 714 kcal

2 thoughts on “Lentil-Potato Dal

    1. I don’t know if you remember, Danielle, but I shared some of the ‘cooking dal in Australia’-story in that writing class of ours! Good times for sure – both backpacking and taking that class with you 🙂

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