Esther Ekhart’s homemade daal recipe

Eating lots of delicious and healthy daal in India while on yoga retreats inspired me to create this recipe. It’s so good! Healthy comfort food: What more do you want?

This daal (or dal) recipe serves 2 to 3 people depending on how you serve it and tastes lovely the following day if you have leftovers.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Tiny bit of dried red chilies or 1 small hot pepper, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup peanut (arachide) oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 3 or 4 pods cardamom opened and mixed through or 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup small red lentils
  • 4¼ cups vegetable stock


  1. Heat peanut oil (arachide oil) in a skillet and saute the onion, garlic and the hot pepper. Be generous with the oil; the ingredients should swim in it.
  2. Let the mixture simmer and add the spices (the next eight ingredients).
  3. Add the lentils and stir. Cover the lentils with some of the vegetable stock and let simmer.
  4. Check the daal periodically; the liquid will cook down, and you will need to add stock a few times to create the consistency you like. I like it rather thick. You may need less or more than 4.5 cup stock. Stir it regularly to cook the lentils evenly.
  5. Let it cook for at least 45 minutes. You can smooth the finished daal in a blender if you like.

Serve it with rice, naan bread or spinach.


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Esther EkhartEsther Ekhart, face and founder of EkhartYoga, brings years of personal yoga and meditation practice, therapy training and study of yoga philosophy into her teaching.