Bengali Dhal Recipe -
Bengali Dhal Recipe
  • READY IN 45 mins

Bengali Dhal

Recipe by  

"Here is my recipe for dhal based on my many experiences cooking with my friends over the years. We love this served over freshly made basmati rice. Don't skimp on the caramelized onions and garlic - it totally makes this recipe amazing!"

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 2 cups Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    30 mins

    45 mins


  1. Wash the lentils in a strainer. Combine the lentils and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add half of the sliced onions and garlic, reserving the rest for later. Stir in the turmeric, bay leaf, tomatoes, and salt. Add the chiles, leaving them whole to add flavor or cut in half to add heat. When the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the lentils break apart and thicken slightly, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Add the reserved sliced onions; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue cooking and stirring until the onion is very tender and dark brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Stir in the rest of the chopped garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant and tender, about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the contents of the skillet into the cooked lentils and stir. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Mar 01, 2010

This is delicious! I had never cooked anything Indian before and was a little skeptical but it turned out great. Advice to not buy the turmeric from the spice aisle like I almost did. Buy it from the Oriental food section. The difference? One 3 oz. bottle for $9 or one 14oz. bag for $3.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Apr 07, 2010

A few things to note: 1. Traditional (and in my opinion, more flavorful) daal is made with chhana daal, this can be found in the ethnic section. 2. cherry tomatoes are never used in bengali cooking, I recommend 1 small tomato, diced. 3. I recommend using 1 large onion in the whole dish, 3/4 in the lentils and the remainder when frying up at the end. 4. The heat level for this dish is not high with serrano peppers. I would recommend using the small hot peppers found at an Indian store. 5. 1/2 tsp of turmeric is very mild to me. I would use 1-2 tsp myself, as it's very healthy for you and doesn't have a strong flavor.

Jan 29, 2010

This dhal is generally made with channa dhal,but will taste good with red lentil.good dish to serve with plain rice and dry potato subji.bengalies make sweet tomato chutany alond with it as side dish. chhaya

Jan 28, 2011

This was really easy to throw together. I made it on a whim and I had all of the ingredients at home already. It seems like quite a simple dish, but the caramelized onions and fresh coriander really give the dish something extra so don't leave those out! I will probably double the caramelized onions next time. I increased the turmeric, as per another reviewer's suggestion. And... I had to use up some butternut squash in the fridge, so I grated about a cup of that and threw it into the pot with the tomatoes. I don't think it really affected the flavour or texture of the dish at all. Not 'authentic,' I know, but it DID make this dish even healthier. I still prefer spicier curries to dhal, but this recipe is still a keeper due to it's simplicity. Thanks for sharing!

Feb 02, 2010

**** Very tasty

Sep 28, 2012

The real thing is great (but no tomatoes) but here is my non-authentic shortcut for this dish. Pour a can of lentils, liquid & all into a saucepan and warm gently. Fry 1 cup chopped onions in a little veg oil and add to lentils. Sprinkly 1 tablespoon (more or less) curry powder on top and stir. Add salt & pepper to taste. With a hand- blender mix until smooth and pour over cooked rice - real comfort nursery food! Reminds me of my childhood in India

Jul 07, 2012

It had beautiful color and a wonderful smell. For some reason there was a bit too much bitterness. I'm not sure if it was the turmeric or what, but it was in every bite and I couldn't shake it!

Aug 11, 2011

This is really good - I am really surprised! Will definitely make again and super easy as well!


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  • Calories
  • 224 kcal
  • 11%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 34.3 g
  • 11%
  • Cholesterol
  • 0 mg
  • 0%
  • Fat
  • 4.1 g
  • 6%
  • Fiber
  • 15.7 g
  • 63%
  • Protein
  • 13.2 g
  • 26%
  • Sodium
  • 304 mg
  • 12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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