Cheap Eat Recipes - Red Lentil Dhal Curry

This rich and hearty red lentil (otherwise know as Masoor Dhal) curry dish, is one of my all-time favourite cheap eat recipes, that is quick and easy to make and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

It's one of the most common recipes prepared in India on a daily basis and has many health benefits. It contains high levels of protein, fibre, folate, vitamin B1, minerals and can help lower cholesterol. It's also an excellent source of potassium and iron, rich in antioxidants.

The following recipe will make you enough portions to feed up to 8 people. I love to cook up a batch once in a while and have it for a money-saving lunch at work in the week. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to cook.

Don't be discouraged by the list of ingredients, they're all pretty cheap and if you're anything like me, you will already have half of them in your kitchen cupboard or on the spice rack anyway. Once cooked, serve with Naan Bread or rice. Yummy.

  • 380g of Red Lentils.
  • 1 large diced Onion.
  • 1 tablespoon of Vegetable Oil.
  • 2 tablespoons of Tomato Puree.
  • 1 tablespoon of Curry Powder.
  • 1 teaspoon of ground Tumeric.
  • 1 teaspoon of ground Cumin.
  • 1 teaspoon of Chilli Powder.
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt.
  • 1 teaspoon of Caster Sugar.
  • 1 clove of Garlic, minced.
  • 1 teaspoon of Ginger (ground or minced).
  • 1 100g jar of Passata (although tinned tomatoes work just as well)

  1. Wash the lentils in cold water until the water runs clear (this is very important or the lentils will lose texture). 
  2. Put the lentils in a saucepan with boiling water and simmer with a lid on until lentils are tender (add more water if necessary).
  3. While the lentils are cooking, caramalise the Onion in vegetable oil.
  4. Combine the Tomato Puree, Curry Powder, Turmeric, Cumin, Chilli Powder, Salt, Sugar, Garlic and Ginger in with the oOnions and cook over a high heat stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the Passata (or tinned tomatoes) and reduce heat, allow the curry base to simmer until the lentils are ready.
  6. When the lentils are tender, drain them (they should have absorbed most of the water but you don't want the curry to be too wet) and mix in with the curry base. Garnish with fresh Coriander if you please. Serve with rice or Naan Bread.