Want to eat meat free but have no idea where to start? Try this easy dal recipe from Gopal's Curry Shack at home for a filling main or side with plenty of punch. This is perfect for boxing up and bringing to work for lunch or serving up at home with plenty of other delicious meat-free Indian snacks and sides. 

Serves 4 


200g red lentils 

50g channa dal 

1 cinnamon stick 

1.5 tsp turmeric 

1 tin of full fat coconut milk 

3 tbsp of vegetable oil 

1 large white onion, peeled and finely diced 

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped or grated

2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger, grated (leave the skin on) 

1 level tsp garam masala 1 tsp ground cumin 

2 tsp cumin seeds 

1 tsp ground coriander 

2 tsp mustard seeds


Thoroughly rinse the lentils until the water runs clear. Cover and soak for 10 mins, then drain. Put the lentils in a large saucepan with around 1 litre of cold water, the cinnamon stick and the turmeric and bring to the boil. Skim off any froth that surfaces and simmer for one hour or until the lentils are cooked. You may need to top up the dal with extra water if it starts to thicken too much-you are aiming for a soupy texture at the end. 

Add the coconut milk and a little salt and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes over a gentle heat until it has thickened a little. Stir frequently to stop it sticking and to break down the dal. 

Take the pan off the heat. In a frying pan over a medium heat add the oil, then fry the onion until soft and golden brown – about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and grated ginger and continue to fry for a further three minutes. Add the spices, stir fry for 2 minutes, then add a little water to stop the mixture catching. 

In a separate dry frying pan, gently toast the cumin seeds & mustard seeds until the mustard seeds start to pop. Add the spiced onion mix and the seeds into the dal, season to taste. 

Serve topped with fresh coriander, a swirl of yoghurt and bread to scoop up. 

This recipe was contributed by Gopal's Curry Shack.

Published -13th May 2018