Lentil Dal

Until today I’d never owned a recipe for yellow lentil dal but I do now and it’s good stuff.  Before I get into the recipe, I want to tell you what happened yesterday.  Many of you know I take Charlie ball chasing on the beach every day at low tide. At low tide the sand is hard and easy to walk on.  It’s heaps less work that marching in soft sand.

I don’t know how he knows it’s low tide unless he looks out at the canal and can tell but you can be sure that 15 minutes before low tide he starts to twitch.  If nobody notices the twitch there’s a slight cry or whimper.  If I know what he’s doing and I’m working and really don’t want to go to the beach I pretend I can’t hear him.

That’s when he jumps up and looks at me with that look that screams, “IT’S TIME!!”   Yesterday, when it was time I was writing my part of the workshop I’m doing on blogging and I didn’t want to break my concentration to toss a ball, plus it was going to rain.  So I ignored him.  Fruitless.  Off we went with him in the middle of the back seat looking very regal and proud of himself.  We have beach down pat.  It’s called beach.  “Charlie want to do beach?”  I have no idea how that got started. Walkies he still gets a bit rambunctious on.

The beach is about 5 minutes from the house by car and because of the horrid storms we had last year, the dunes were cut into sheer cliffs so we go to one where I won’t kill myself getting down to the beach OR getting back  up.  The walk from the curb to the beach goes through bushland and takes about 3-5 minutes depending  upon how many blades of grass he needs to pee on.

This way

Yesterday however, he decided that the walk through the bush was when he needed to poo.  I didn’t notice but when I bent over to take care of his business, I dropped my keys.  I had no clue and off we went.

After walking about a kilometre and a half it began raining so we turned around.  I saw a man at the beach entrance and he was waving but I had no idea he was waving to me.  I should have known as there was only one other person on the beach and she had 4 dalmations.  As I got closer the man kept waving a big stick.  I wondered if it was John but when I got there, he said, “have you lost your keys?”


“Yes,” I said, “Did you find them?”


and then he wanted me to tell him all the numbers on my keys.  Now my car is 2 years old and it still has that little blue tag on it from when I picked it up from the dealer.  I don’t fool around with details.  I had no idea what the numbers were.  I told him I could describe the car and that the back seat was full of sand and tennis balls.  He said that was good enough.

We drove home and after showering and rinsing Charlie off I baked some cookies and brought them back.  I’d watched the couple cross the street and go into a house directly opposite the park.  I rang the bell and the man came out, took the cookies and said, “I’m Harold Greene and I’m so pleased to meet you.  You’re a good woman.”  I laughed and thanked him again.  Imagine if I’d had to walk all the way home in the rain.  Imagine them sitting at a picnic table in the park in the rain waiting for someone to come out of the woods looking for her keys?  Kindness exists, folks.  It’s everywhere but we concentrate on the bad stuff too often.

lentil dhal

Now about this lentil dal.  This was a lovely way to warm up the old bones.

5.0 from 7 reviews
Lentil Dal
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is a hearty and healthy protein rich vegetarian meal.
Recipe type: Vegetarian
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup mung dal
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • dash cayenne pepper (or more, if you like spice!)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp margarine or olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 whole cloves
  • black pepper to taste
  1. In a large soup or stock pan, combine the mung dal or yellow lentils, vegetable broth, turmeric, cayenne and salt. Bring to a slow simmer. Cover partially with a lid and allow to cook for 30-40 minutes.
  2. In a separate skillet, sautee the onion, cumin seeds and clove in ghee or olive oil for just a few minutes, until onions are soft.
  3. Add the onions and spices to the mung dal or lentils and allow to simmer for a few more minutes, stirring well to combine. Sprinkle with a dash of black pepper and add extra salt to taste, if needed.
  4. Serve plain, as soup, or over rice.


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    • says

      Me too. Since the live across the street from the beach entrance we always use, I’m sure we’ll see them walking their perfectly groomed poodle. :)

  1. says

    Ok, can I just say how jealous I am of you living so close to the beach, that’s quite a dream. How nice of the man to find your keys and actually to make sure it was your car, it’s true we can find kindness when least expected.
    p.s. love the dal!
    Gourmantine recently posted..Mum’s Poppy Seed Cake

  2. says

    Great story. You are a good woman. And Harold Greene is a good man. I’ve been a bit obsessed by dried legumes and pulses lately. I have a new kitchen toy (a Spanish olla – a clay pot) that I’ve been cooking beans in (some i the oven right now). And I do have mung dal in my pantry, and haven’t made a dal in months. Hmm . . . 😉 Fun post – thanks.
    john@kitchenriffs recently posted..Walnut Roll Cake

  3. says

    Kindness from strangers is rare but definitely is one of the best experiences when it happens :)
    And coming from an Indian girl who eats daal every second day, your recipe sounds and looks delicious :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. says

    Love your story, although I thought you were going to say your keys dropped in the dog poo. Or, maybe that’s only something that would happen to me :-) I’ve yet to own a Dal recipe, but yours looks delicious! I’ve been using turmeric a lot lately, so I definitely need to add this to my repoitoire!

  5. says

    Lovely story, Maureen. You’re right, there ARE good people out there and you’re good people too for returning cookies for keys. :) Charlie has you trained well to ‘beach’.

    I think I’d like the dish best as a soup. A lovely hearty soup.

  6. says

    That’s a lovely story, Maureen and I love how you described Charlie on his walk. It reminded me of my girls, Ruby and Rosie. Just how many places do they need to pee on one walk. You were looked after by the angels on your walk – imagine having to re-trace your steps to work out where you could have lost your keys! Reminds me of a leatherman story! xx

  7. says

    Great story. What a beautiful place to be able to walk Charlie. Losing your keys sounds like something that would happen to me.

    Since I do not like lentils I can not honestly say much about the recipe except the color is pretty.

  8. Eha says

    Maureen, I have made this sans cloves [interesting] to use instead of butter on bread/toast for over three decades: could not live without it! I saute the onions at the end with somewhat more turmeric, cook the lentil ‘down’ a little more. Make bigger batches, place such in small ramekins with the onions on top, and freeze. Great as an alternative to hommus and vegetable/avocado spreads. Of course use it the way you do also :) !

  9. says

    I love Dahl, it’s like extreme comfort food and all the spices make it so morish. Every recipe is slightly different, this looks delicious. How fab to live so close to the beach. GG

  10. says

    I can smell this with the cumin – I love lentils and cumin!! Sounds perfectly yummy – even now, even here, as it’s still cold here!

    And you’re right – we tend to focus on the bad and we should only focus on the good.

    BTW – what kind of cookies?

    • says

      I suppose you’re right but when we watch the news it’s always doom and gloom and we tend to get caught up with the “everything’s rotten and we’re going to hell in a handbasket” attitude. At least I do :)

  11. says

    Great story Maureen, glad you got your keys back. There are few kind folk out there its just sometimes you get to interact with them that makes you realise that they do exist. I have never used yellow lentils for dahl – Always mung bean dahl in our house.

  12. says

    Yes, there are many, many more good people in the world but we hear mostly about the bad, so unfortunate. Your soup has such a gorgeous color, am sure it was delicious.

  13. says

    Wow, that was some luck you had with a stranger finding your keys. The “oh no!” went off in my head when you wrote you dropped your keys…. but thank goodness for the kindness of strangers. We do dwell too often on the “oh no” things in life.. not enough on the “oh good”. :)

    Love the dal…the color makes me happy. :)

  14. says

    You gave an interesting rendition to our good old lentil dal :) Thank you for that !

    And I love the way you story-tell and make your lovely pictures talk. Love ‘n hugs.

  15. says

    Wow! You are so lucky that someone found your keys and that you were able to get them back! I recently locked my keys and phone in my car in a city an hour away from where I live!! Luckily a nice girl stopped to help me. She phoned a locksmith and waited with me just to make sure he came!! Kindness does exist!
    This lentil dal looks great. I love a good dal recipe. Ill have to try this.
    Beth @ bethmichelle.com recently posted..Sabich (Iraqi-Jewish Eggplant Sandwich)

  16. says

    Back seat full of sand and tennis balls… LOL! :D. Glad you were able to get your keys back! Would have been terrible to lose them in the middle of beach somewhere. Lovely looking dal Maureen – I love lentil dals – they have such a nice, smooth, almost “creamy” flavour!

  17. says

    Hi! I came across your lentil dal recipe after huffing and puffing about other ones I’d seen. Liked the look of yours – just made it – and it is FAB! Nice job! Thanks!

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