Super Easy Vegetarian Red Lentil Dhal Curry Recipe

It's a well-known fact that lentils and pulses are incredibly good for you, packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre as well as being low in fat, so this traditional Punjabi curry dish is made with red split lentils is the ultimate feel-good food.

In fact, lentils are good for heart health, and digestive health, they lower cholesterol levels, stabilise blood sugar and boost energy levels, which is exactly what we need to get the best out of our daily routines.

The beauty of curries is that they can be made in larger quantities that can be easily reheated. An amply sized pot of delicious curry is the perfect solution for midweek mealtimes and for when you have a lot of mouths to feed and little time on your hands.

If you are in a rush but need some good wholesome food, then red lentil curry will be right up your street. It's quick and easy to prepare, what's more, it's suitable for vegetarians too, so it's a satisfying alternative for anyone who prefers a plant-based diet.


200g Dried red lentils (rinsed and drained - no need to soak)
2 Garlic cloves (crushed)
1 Tomato (diced into small pieces)
¼ tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Red chilli powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
Garam Masala powder for seasoning
Chopped fresh coriander leaves

For the Tarka (tempering)  

1 Knob of butter or 1 tsp of cooking oil such as olive or coconut oil for a completely vegan recipe
1 Garlic clove (crushed)
1 Whole dried red chilli
1 Whole fresh green chilli


1. In a saucepan put the red lentils with enough water to cover them and about two inches more, along with the two crushed cloves of garlic, tomato, turmeric, red chilli and coriander powders.

2. Stir the mixture then bring it to a boil, then put the lid on and allow to simmer until the lentils are cooked enough to eat but still retain their shape a little. The mixture will thicken however you may need to add more water at intervals to ensure you have a nice lentil curry sauce texture that is not stodgy, it should also not be watery but as the curry cools it will thicken up even more.

3. Remove the lentils from the heat and in a separate smaller saucepan, melt the butter along with one crushed garlic clove and the whole red and green chillies.

4. When the garlic is a light golden brown, pour this hot tarka mixture into the pan of lentil curry, you make like to add a few scoops of the lentil sauce to the smaller pan to help you scoop out every last bit of the tarka mixture.

5. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and a generous sprinkle of garam masala. It's that simple!

You can enjoy this delicious dhal recipe with boiled rice or any of your favourite Asian flatbreads such as chapatti or naan bread.

After making this recipe, why not take a quick photo and tag @tastepakcom and hashtag it #tastepakcom on Instagram!

More Pakistani Recipes for You to Enjoy

If you enjoyed the above recipes, check out more of our Pakistani recipes such as:

Aaloo Paratha - A pan-fried flatbread with spicy potato stuffing.

Kashmiri Kidney Bean Curry - A classic dish from Kashmir, known as Rajma, made with kidney beans cooked in a yoghurt sauce.

Channa Masala - A popular vegetarian-friendly curry made with chickpeas, that is enjoyed in both Pakistan and throughout the rest of the Indian subcontinent.

Chicken Curry - A simple yet authentic recipe for a Pakistani style chicken curry; known as Murghi ka Salan.

Meat Curry - A homemade meat curry recipe which is suitable for lamb, mutton or beef.

Enjoy the delights of South Asian cuisine in the comfort of your own home with our authentic recipes and recipe kits!