Family Favourites: Toor Dhal

During the cold months, we always look forward to something hearty and warming for dinner. We crave something lighter than a beef casserole with mashed potato, yet something heavier than a soup. One of the Truly teams mum’s Toor Dhal is the perfect late night dish in front of a cosy fire…

Toor dhal – 1 large mug
Tomatoes – ¾ 400g tin (blended)
Oil – 4 tbsp
Curry leaves – 7 to 8
Hing (Asafoetida) – ½ tsp
Poppy seeds – ½ tsp
Fennel seeds – ¼ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Black Cardamom – 1 mashed
Cloves – 3 to 4
Cinnamon stick – I medium piece

Dry small red chilli – 1
Coriander powder – ½ tsp
Cumin powder – ¼ tsp
Salt to taste
Turmeric – ¼ + tsp
Fresh ginger – ¼ tsp
Fresh garlic – ¼ tsp
Green chillies to taste
Lemon juice – to taste  OR
Tamarind juice – to taste
Sugar to taste – (start with a level tsp)
Fresh coriander


  • Wash and place the dhal into a pan with 3 mugs of water & bring to a boil. Then turn the flame to medium and leave to cook – partially covered (remember to stir the dhal on a regular basis to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan and add hot water if needed.)
  • While the dhal is cooking, prepare the sauce in a separate pan
    Use a thick based pan – or on low heat – add the oil, Hing (Asafoetida), dry red chilli, and curry leaves. 
  • When the oil bubbles, add the cloves, cardamom, poppy & fennel seeds.
  • Once these starting bubbling/ pop – Add the cumin seeds 
    When these also bubble/pop – add the tomatoes, coriander, ginger, garlic, and the rest of the seasoning.
  • Cook the contents until it forms a thick sauce – taste and add seasoning if required.
  • Check that the dhal is cooked before adding the sauce (this can be done by checking that the dhal is very soft by mashing a couple of the pieces using your fingers.)
  • Add your sauce to the dhal.
  • Add lime juice and sugar to taste (optional). We would recommend you start with small amounts and taste as you go along. 

The Toor Dhal should have a sweet/sour taste to it and is delicious served with rice or a roti.

Serves 4