This dal is simple to prepare, has incredible flavor, and is perfectly comforting without being too rich. It's made from hearty lentils that are cooked with tomato, aromatics, and turmeric, then topped with tempered mustard seeds and curry leaves. Fresh curry leaves are the star of this dal. Tempered with spices and coconut oil, then added to the dal at the end, they add such an aromatic, tasty flavor to the whole dish.

Yellow Dal With Curry Leaves [Vegan, Gluten-Free]



4-6 with rice



For the Dal:

  • 2 cups split red lentils or toor lentils, well rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup tomato passata or 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced (half for the dal, half for the tadka)
  • 1-inch piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 25 fresh curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder or grated fresh turmeric
  • 2 green chilis (optional)
  • 2/3 teaspoon salt

For the Tadka:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 15 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 dried kasmiri chilli (optional)


  1. Put the rinsed lentils into a large pan and cover with about 2 inches of water. Add in all of the remaining dal ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for around 30 minutes (45-60 with toor dal). The lentils should be very soft. Use a potato masher or a wooden spoon to mash them into a creamy texture. You can add more water or simmer for longer, depending on the consistency you like.
  2. For the tadka, heat the coconut oil in a small non-stick or small heavy-bottomed pan. Then, add the mustard seeds and cook for around 20-40 seconds until they are all popping. Then, add the remaining half of sliced onion, the curry leaves, and the chili, if using. Stir fry on a medium to high heat for 5 or so minutes until the onions just start to brown, then add the whole mixture into the lentil pan. Mix very well and then leave covered for at least 15 minutes for the flavors to infuse before eating.