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Simple Lentil Daal with Lime Crema

  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 0 servings 1x


a simple daal recipe made using red lentils, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, and garam masala


  • 1 small yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 jalapeno (see notes below for more details)
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger (minced)
  • 3 tsp garam masala (divided)
  • 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (I like San Marzano)
  • 1 cup red lentils (I like Bob's Red Mill brand)
  • 6 cups water (divided)
  • kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp neutral oil (grapeseed, avocado, canola, etc)

For The Lime Crema

  • 2 tbsp lime juice (approximately 1 lime)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup full-fat yogurt or sour cream


  1. Bring a large pot to a high heat on the stove. Add neutral oil. Add diced onion and a pinch of salt. Begin to sweat onion. Turn the heat down to medium, and cook the onion for approximately 10 minutes.
  2. While the onion cooks, chop your jalapeño*, ginger and garlic.
  3. Once the onion is translucent and starting to brown around the edges, add jalapeño, ginger and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add 2tsp garam masala and a big pinch of salt. Toast the spices, stirring for another minute or two.
  4. Add the lentils and coat them in the spice mixture. Once the lentils are all coated, add your can of tomatoes and 5 cups of water.
  5. Cover the mixture with a lid (not entirely, leave room for steam to escape) and bring it to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the lentils have absorbed most of the water and are fully cooked.
  6. While the soup cooks, mix together your crema. All you need to do is stir together the yogurt (or sour cream) with lime, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  7. After 20-25 minutes, add 1 more cup of water and 1 more teaspoon of garam masala to the soup pot. You will likely need to add more salt at this point, so taste the soup and season with salt to your liking. Stir to combine. Turn off the heat.
  8. Serve your daal with a dollop of lime crema on top. If you have fresh cilantro, that's a nice topping as well. The daal is ready to eat right away, but also is wonderful for several days after. It will last in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for 3 months.


*For the jalapeño, if you are very sensitive to spice, I would recommend removing the pith and seeds. I added the entire pepper to the soup and it was not overly spicy, just had a nice kick. 

If you like things super hot, you could play around with adding more jalapeño (1.5 or even 2 peppers), or you could try a hotter pepper such as serrano. 

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Main Course, Soup
  • Cuisine: Indian