Red lentil Dhal Recipe with Almond and Onion Tadka by Nina Olsson

Dhal Tadka Recipe by Nina Olsson

This dhal recipe is made with creamy red lentils with an almond and onion tadka is a delicious and a fun dish to make.

This dish amazes me every time. To think that plain cooked lentils have so much taste astounds me. Dhal means soup in Sanskrit and is India’s number one comfort meal. There are plenty of reasons to love this humble meal.

It’s delicious, healthy and easy to make! The first rule of making a dhal is to allow sufficient time for simmering the pulses into a creamy soup. The longer they have to break down the silkier the dhal. Pre-soaking helps the softening process. The lentils are flavourd by tadka, which is a tempered spice mix.

Serves 4-6


400g red lentils or yellow split mung peas or peas, soaked and drained if you have time
1.5 litres water

Tadka Spice Mix
3 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
4 shallots, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 tbsp ground almonds
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp freshly grated or ground turmeric
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp freshly grated or ground ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
½ red chilli (or more to taste), finely chopped
1 tsp coconut sugar
Water, to thin

To Serve
Fresh coriander
Naan optional
Raita, optional


1. Put the lentils in a large saucepan with the water.
2. Bring to the boil and skim off any foam that rises to the surface with a spoon. Let the lentils boil for 35–50 minutes, adding more water if it dries up. Keep adding water to achieve the desired consistency.
3. When the lentils are dissolved and creamy, remove the pan from the heat.
4. To make the tadka, heat a saucepan over a medium heat and add 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil.
5. Sauté the shallots, garlic and almonds over a low heat until the shallots are golden and transparent. Let the shallots sweat and release their juices rather then get too crispy.
6. Add another tablespoon of ghee or coconut oil with the rest of the spice paste ingredients and stir-fry for another 3 minutes before removing from the heat.
7. Reserving a small amount of the tadka for topping, blend the rest of the mixture to a smooth paste with a few tablespoons water.
8. Before serving, bring the dahl to a simmer and mix in the tadka. Remove from the heat and serve with fresh coriander. You can make this a bigger meal by adding raita and naan bread.

Use coconut oil instead of ghee.

Gluten Free:
Serve with gluten-free bread instead of naan bread.


Bowls of Goodness Nina Olsson Nina Olsson is a recipe maker, photographer and author of the vegetarian food blog Nourish Atelier. She has worked creatively with food for magazines for 10 years and is an award winning art director, stylist and designer. Nina’s recipes are always vegetarian and often vegan. Her food philosophy is all about balance and fun. Nina’s blog showcases plant-based bowl food at its very best. Bowls of Goodness is wholesome vegetarian food at its best and it is inspired by cooking from around the world. Including smoothies, plant based recipes, salads and sharing dishes – all foods that are all served in a bowl.


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