Dal Makani

Traditional dal often has cream and ghee, so its not a vegan dish. However, I recently found a good recipe online that I have adapted to suit our own tastes. This dish goes really well over some basmati rice and a side of naan. Top it with some coconut based sour cream as well for a cooling effect.

  • 1 cup dry whole green/brown lentils or green mung beans, debris removed and soaked in  of water for at least 4-6 hours
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 15 oz can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons of earth balance butter
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger (about an inch piece)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups water (including water reserved from cooking the lentils)
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne, optional & more or less to taste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 15 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk


  1. Add the soaked lentils to a pot along with 4 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer. Cook covered for 30-40 minutes or until lentils are tender. Turn off heat and strain the lentils,  but keep the cooking water.
  2. In a large pot heat the earth balance over medium. Add the cumin and bay leaf and fry until they crackle, about two minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and onion powder and cook about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking and burning
  3. Add the tomatoes, the reserved lentil cooking water + extra water to equal 1 1/2 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of salt, garam masala, coriander, cayenne, turmeric, fenugreek, and curry powder. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the lentils and the kidney beans. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so the lentils don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Taste and adjust salt if desired.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Serve over rice. 
PS This dish is delicious right away, but can even be better the next day as the spices have more time to mature together. Double the recipe and you will certainly have leftovers for the next few days!