Craig's Dhal

 Craig's Dhal

Craig’s Dhal

(This recipe is provided by my Dad!  Thank you!)


Fifteen years ago I watched a beautiful Irish woman cook a wickedly spicy red lentil dhal in just twenty minutes with a few simple ingredients. Some saffron rice and a bottle of good red wine completed what was an exceptional meal under the trees overlooking the river near Perth Western Australia on a hot summer’s night. Over the next few years I developed my own approach to making that simple delicious dish. I am yet to replicate the pleasure of that first home cooked dhal, but what follows is my attempt to tickle the taste buds.


1 pint glass full of red lentils


2 large onions

2 garlic cloves

3 ripe tomatoes (or one tin of whole tomatoes)

1 tin of coconut milk

2 heaped table spoons of Vindaloo paste

1 small teaspoon of Indian curry powder

1 teaspoon of chopped chilli (fresh is best, but from a jar is ok also)

A good splash of olive oil

A good sprinkle of Oregano flakes

A heavy twist of the ground pepper

Place the lentils in a suitable bowl; cover to one centimetre over the top with water; microwave on high for ten minutes or until lentils turn soft and yellow (they will appear to be dry).

Dice the onions into small parts, then; thrust them into a hot pan having already been prepared with olive oil, pepper and oregano flakes (a good dash of each).  When the onions have been lightly fried, throw in the finely chopped garlic segments and then mix in the Vindaloo paste and curry powder, along with the chopped chilli. Open the kitchen window and turn on the exhaust fan now. Wipe your eyes and continue on.

Keep this mix turning over so as not to burn – add in chopped tomatoes with a little water to make a loose mix. Cooking time for this mixture should only be about five to ten minutes.

Pour the pan of curry mix into the bowl of cooked red lentils which should now be yellow and fairly dry. Immediately mix in a tin of coconut milk (or coconut cream) … behold! You now have a killer dhal. Water may be added to make the dhal more fluid; however a firm texture is my preference.

Microwave the finished dhal for about five minutes to assimilate the ingredients.

This dhal can be served as a stand-alone with rice or roti, or can be used as a complement to other foods of this genre. Especially delicious is a bowl of lightly cooked vegetables with this Dhal served as a topping. Red wine, white wine, beer, mango lassie, chilled water or any other bevvy goes well with this dhal.