Autumn has officially started, even weather is showing signs of change in England. Trees are changing colour, it doesn’t feel like summers anymore. There is a nip in the air, the cool touch of the breeze silently whispers and says it’s that time of the year again!! Autumn is a transition period for me where I say goodbyes to the summer days with a heavy heart. It’s a change that happens every year though but the mind plays its own games.

This season definitely calls for something warm and comforting, and a bowl of steaming lentils is a good start for this transition, I suppose.  This dal recipe is what mum used to make quite often at home for lunch. Paired with a bowl of steamed basmati rice and some Indian accompaniments of papad, pickle and yogurt, this was one of the most loved. Simple, filling, comforting and without a doubt, full of flavours!!


Indian food uses lentils extensively and not just one kind, there is a huge selection of beans and lentils. These are then cooked in all sorts of different ways depending on the region you are. This dal is cooked in a North Indian style with a nice spicy tadka and a kick of green chilli just tantalizes the taste buds. I tried to be a bit clever and added curly kale while making this dal. I found this gorgeous kale at my local greengrocers and the moment I saw this beautiful fresh produce my head started buzzing with ideas to use it in my food. Oh, I so love cooking with fresh ingredients!!

curly kale-2

Although, I have used pressure cooker here, this can be made easily in instant pots or slow cooker. I have also used a spice blend (Mix Masala) in this recipe. This is a very fragrant spice blend and I use it often with dals. It’s easy to make at home and you can find the recipe here. Its optional but I would recommend using it, as it does lift the taste of the dal significantly.

  • Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30-35 minutes
  • Makes: 4-5 servings
  • Suitable for freezing


For pressure cooking the dal

  • 1 cup of skinless split mung beans
  • 2 tablespoon each of arhar/toovar (split pigeon peas) dal and red lentils
  • 1 tomato skinned and chopped
  • ½ cup curly kale, roughly torn
  • 2 ½ cups of water


  • ¼ teaspoon of asafoetida
  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste


  • A 3-litre pressure cooker
  • Small pan for tempering

For tempering

  • 1 teaspoon each of cooking oil and ghee
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon each of ginger and garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 green chillies, 1 chopped for tempering and 1 halved for garnish
  • 1 tomato skinned, cubed
  • 10-12 sprigs of coriander leaves, chopped


  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon of red chilli powder/paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon each of coriander and garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon of mix masala



  1. In a pressure cooker add mung beans along with arhar and red lentils, 1 tomato, kale, asafoetida, turmeric powder, salt and water.  Bring it to a boil and then close the lid.
  2. Pressure cook the lentils for 5 minutes on high heat and then 15 minutes on medium.
  3. In the meantime, heat oil and ghee in a separate pan. Quickly add cumin seeds to the hot oil and as soon as it swells and start changing colour, add the shallots and fry for about a minute until translucent.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium. Now add ginger and garlic and sauté for a few seconds, take care not to burn it. Add the tomato and sauté for a minute or two and then add all the ground spices, and sauté again finally for a minute.
  5. Take off the heat and add this to the dal.
  6. Drizzle some ghee, garnish with coriander and green chilli halves, serve hot.


  • Every dal has its own taste and although you can substitute with any dal, but the taste may differ.
  • Green chilli is optional. Omit these if you prefer it to be mildy hot, instead use padron peppers.
  • For a completely plant based recipe, use oil instead of ghee.


Posted by:Krati A.

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