Red Lentil Daal

This week I have a simple and delicious daal recipe for you. I took my inspiration from this recipe my dad shared with me via the New York Times website. I simplified the cooking process by altering the method used and made some additions to the ingredients.  I couldn’t find carrots this time, so I added extra tomatoes. It was still delicious, but I highly recommend adding the carrots. The pressure cooker gives them a buttery texture and their subtle flavor is wonderful.

I have always loved cooking. When I was a little girl, I used to don a small apron, take a cutting board and knife and pretend I was the host of a PBS television cooking program. I can’t vouch for the quality of the food at that stage, but my enthusiasm was genuine!

When setting up my apartment, one investment was this Hawkins stainless steel pressure cooker. I had never used one before, but this little guy quickly became my best friend.

Sometimes Ustad Ji takes me to an organic vegetable market on Sunday mornings. A man there sells Dr. Cow brand Ayurvedic products. I have been using this ghee from them. Check out the benefits listed on the label. I am not sure of the science behind the claims, but they sound interesting. Dr. Cow also makes a really wonderful chyawanprash that I am in love with.

Take a moment to organize your ingredients for speedy preparation


  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils (soak in water for 30-60 minutes, then drain)
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup ghee or coconut oil
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped into small cubes
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes, or to taste
  • Juice of one lemon or 2-3 limes
  • Water

Begin heating the pressure cooker over medium high heat and add the ghee or coconut oil.

When the oil has melted, add the garlic and onions; saute until translucent and beginning to brown.

Add the spices and salt, stir to combine. Take care that the spices don’t burn, but cook for a minute or two to remove the rawness.

Add the tomatoes and carrots, stirring well to combine. Add the drained lentils and stir again to distribute everything evenly.

Add water to cover the lentil mixture by at least an inch. Hint, if you pre-boil your water this next stage will be even faster!

Seal the pressure cooker and heat over high temperature until the first whistle. Turn the heat to medium low and continue cooking for 7-10 minutes. Carefully remove the pot from the heat and allow to depressurize naturally (15-20 minutes).

Now don’t laugh, but I was so distracted with everything going on when I first moved here, that I didn’t realize the lid to this style pressure cooker is oval. I couldn’t figure out how it would ever get in the pot and it seemed a miracle when it finally happened. Ahhh, stress… it was a blessed day when I realized how the pot lid worked. For the life of me, I can’t see how I didn’t realize before… 😂

Healthy Sattvic Nutrition

Open the pot and add the lemon or lime juice. At this point, you can also add more water if you want a thinner consistency. Taste to see if more salt is needed. You can accompany the daal with basmati rice or roti if desired.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

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