Easy Red Lentil Dhal

I know, I know.

Red lentil dhal on a white plate with two forks.

I just made lentils, like, last week.

Here’s what actually happened. This lentil dhal recipe happened accidentally while I was trying to make the squash lentil curry, so it was like two for the price of one! I’ve always been a sucker for time savers and extra food.

I bought red lentils, thinking they would look better in my squash lentil curry. First mistake: squash lentil curry is just meant to look a certain way and there’s nothing you can do about that.

Red lentil dhal with rice on a white plate.

Second mistake: red lentils are not the same as brown lentils.

What are these little red treasures, and why I am just trying them now? Technically they were French (thank you, random Filipino imports) because they were called lentilles corale. Is that French? I renamed them dhal because that’s their Indian name and I like to make things into curry. I don’t know, I just mostly Wikipedia stuff.

Red lentil dhal with rice on a white plate.

These little lentils are split, so they are teeny tiny compared to the regular old brown lentil, which means they cook SUPER FAST, which means you get to eat sooner. #win

Unlike brown lentils, these red lentils cook almost effortlessly into something like a soup or sauce. So instead of trying to make them into squash lentil curry, I started adding some yummy things to them so that I could eat them. Immediately.

Coconut milk. Curry paste. Spices.

Red lentil dhal with rice in a clear container.

HELLO. They were so, so good and they probably took me fifteen minutes to make from start to finish. Bjork and I both had a heaping scoop over rice, twice, for three days in a row.

Spicy. Healthy. Cozy. Portable. Best ever.

Lentils for life, yo.

A picture of Easy Red Lentil Dhal

Easy Red Lentil Dhal


This easy red lentil dhal (or dahl, or dal) is flavored with curry paste and coconut milk. Incredibly simple and so delicious.


  • 2 1/2 cups red or pink lentils
  • 56 cups of water (a large pot half full)
  • 2 tablespoons curry paste
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • lime juice
  • green herbs for garnish (I used malunggay leaves – you could use cilantro, green onions, etc.)


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Add lentils and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to prevent burning on the bottom. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients until completely incorporated. Season with additional salt and herbs for garnish.


Makes six 1 cup servings.

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: red lentil dhal, lentil dhal, easy dhal recipe

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