Red Lentil Dahl over Pulao Rice


Have you seen the ads that say “take time for tea”?  I was flipping through a Vegetarian Times magazine the other night scrounging for recipe ideas and came across the ad.  I don’t know why, but I became immensely fascinated by it.  Beneath “take time for tea” it has a picture of a woman lounging, reading a book, and holding her cute little cup of tea.

Of course, I mentally began mocking that scenario.  Who has time for reading?  Let alone quietly sipping tea?  The only time I have for tea is when I’m running for the bus and then my travel mug top usually pops open and I spill it on myself…

I came across the ad again this morning and was again consumed by its message.  I’m sure I’m reading more into this than the company intended, but I actually think there is a strong point to the word take.  What would happen if we just took the time for tea?  We already have all the time that we can have in one day.  It is simply up to us how we use each minute of it.

And it’s not really about tea. What if I took the time to create more friendships, spend quality time with family, or to practice self care?  How would my life be different if I stopped rushing, chewed more slowly, listened more intently, and took more breaks?  I know I sometimes need a little reminder about how precious my time is and that I need to use it wisely.  And maybe it’s not realistic for me to take the time for tea, long walks, and friendships every day, but I can be more present and thankful for the moments when I do.  

If you’re not interested in taking the time for tea, maybe you’d rather take the time for dahl?  I have to admit I usually resort to the convenience of a pre-made curry base when I make Indian dishes.  However, it’s never as flavorful or as fresh as when I make it from scratch. These two recipes come together in under an hour to form a tasty and comforting dish.  The prep time is pretty minimal and it makes a perfect weeknight dinner.  
The only thing that might make it better?  A good cup of chai tea. 
Red Lentil Dahl
Slightly adapted from The Accidental Vegan by Devra Gartenstein
Serves 6
8 cups water
2 cups red lentils
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs freshly grated ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1.5 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp sea salt
Lemon juice from 1 lemon (or to taste)
Cilantro for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sift through the lentils for rocks.  Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Stir in the lentils, garlic, ginger, cumin, cumin seeds, coriander, tumeric, cardamom, and salt, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently for about 45 minutes, until the lentils are tender and beginning to break down.  
Stir frequently toward the end of the cooking time, and add more stock or water as needed if the dahl gets too thick.  Stir in the lemon juice, garnish with some fresh cilantro and pepper to taste; serve hot. 
Pulao Rice
From The Veg-Feasting Cookbook by Vegetarians of Washington

Serves 6
2 cups basmati rice
3 Tbs canola oil
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
3 bay leaves
5 cardamom pods
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 cups water
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
1/2 tsp saffron
Let the rice soak for 5-10 minutes.  Add the oil to a large saucepan.  Add the cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, cardamom, and cumin.  Cook over low heat for 2 minutes.  Add the water, rice, salt, and green peas.  Bring to a boil, then cook, covered over medium heat until the water has been absorbed.  
Add the saffron, and reduce the heat to low.  Cover the pan with a clean dishtowel and lid.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes, then remove from the heat, keeping the pan covered for 10 minutes.  Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
Get your FREE Handy Guide to Produce to jumpstart your cooking AND weekly recipes & healthy living tips!
I hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.


  1. Anonymous says

    Made this tonight for dinner! It was AMAZING! For some reason other Indian recipes I’ve tried have always been disappointing, kinda bland, and not as good as restaurant food. The flavor of this was right on! Can’t wait to have left overs after all those spices have had some time to mix and mingle. Thanks so much for posting this.

  2. Joy says

    I just made this dish and am eating it now. It’s delicious and much easier than I thought – I guess I was intimidated by all the ingredients. I didn’t have cardamom or coriander on hand so I just used some garam masala. It tastes great!

  3. Anonymous says

    I tried making this tonight. Smelled great but didn’t cook down. I think your ratio of 8 cups water to 2 cups lentils is way off. Many 3.5-4 cups water?

    • says

      Thanks for letting me know! Sorry it didn’t turn out as hoped! It’s been a long time since I made this so I will try it again and double check the ratios. Thanks! :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *