Simple Lemon Dal

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
simple lentil dal

I've been noticing quite a few recipes for easy lemon dal dishes floating around and on a night when I really didn't feel like cooking but needed nourishment, I whipped this up in hardly any time at all. There is minimal prep — the whole process is complete in under an hour. It's an especially soothing curry too, for it has a bit of warming kick, although the flavors come together in an elegant way. The fresh lemon juice really brings everything together. It is very easy to digest as well. All you need to complete your meal is rice or bread and a vegetable side if desired.

I have used toor dal here, but feel free to use the lentil of your choice. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Simple Lemon DalSimple Lemon Dal
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on February 10, 2014

Simple spicy dal curry cooked with fresh lemon juice

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 to 55 minutes

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  • 1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • juice from 1 small lemon (2 tablespoons)
Tarka (tempering):
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon urad dal, rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 to 2 green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 dried whole red chili, broken into small bits
  • small handful of dried curry leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafetida
  • Thoroughly rinse the toor dal or other split dal and soak in water for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain.

  • Combine the dal, water and turmeric in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the dal begins to break apart — about 40 to 50 minutes. Whisk this mixture a good few times to break down the dal further. Stir in the salt and lemon juice and cook for another few minutes. Remove from heat.

  • In a small saucepan, heat the ghee or oil over medium-high heat. Add the urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Stir until the seeds begin to splutter and pop. Immediately add the chilies and curry leaves and stir for another minute. Toss in the asafetida, stir a couple of times, and pour the contents of the pan over the dal. Cover the dal with the lid and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir and serve with rice or bread.

Makes 4 servings

simple lentil dal

More easy lentil dals that you are sure to enjoy:
Tarka Dal with Tomatoes and Spices
Toor Dal Palak
Tangy Red Lentil Dal with Goda Masala (Amti)
Urad Dal with Spices


Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody) said...

Dal is my all time favourite Indian meal. It's a simple dish that even my 3 year old wolfs down. The addition of lemon sounds like a great idea! I'll have to give it a try. :)

Joanne said...

This is such a comfort. I love the sound of the lemon mixed in to brighten up the flavors a bit!

Unknown said...

This looks wonderful, I would like the recipe for the bread you show served with it too please. tysm

Lisa Turner said...

Hi Jodie. I served it with Rustic Sun-Dried Tomato Bread:

Siri said...

I came here to find MLLA announcement post and was quite thrilled to see that you made the lemon dal. :-) Lovely looking bowl of dal. I have bookmarked your Rustic Sun Dried tomato bread. I will give it a try soon.


Boni's Healthy Twists said...

Simple and a quick fix for busy working days !!!