Dal Bhat – Lentils and Rice

Lentils (Dal) and rice (Bhat) mixed in a comforting, nutritious and tasty dish. It’s two main ingredients and a delicious mix of Indian spice flavours.

Dal Bhat Lentils Rice

Recipe: Dal Bhat – Lentils and Rice

Amount: 4 servings


200 g rice, e.g. Basmati rice
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or shredded
1/2 tsp salt
2 pieces turmeric, grated or 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp cardamom capsules, crushed
200 g lentils, any type of lentils works
600-800 ml water
1 tomato, chopped or 1-2 canned tomatoes
butter or ghee

1 red chili or 1 dries chili, crushed
Chopped cilantro, lime wedges, some sliced chilies for garnish


  • At first prepare the vegetables and crush the spices in a mortar.
  • Then heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and stir until the onion is translucent. Add garlic, ginger and fresh turmeric and stir 1-2 minutes more.
  • Next stir in the spices: cardamom, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and chili (if using). Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 2 minutes while stirring often.
  • Add the chopped tomato, together with the lentils, butter or ghee. Cook them for a few minutes. Stir from time to time, so they don’t stick to the pan.
    Then pour in the water and boil the lentils as per cooking instructions for your chosen lentil. Season with salt to taste. Add more water if necessary during the cooking process. The lentils are done when they are soft and fall apart.
  • While the Dal is simmering, cook the rice in water and salt as per cooking instructions. When done, remove the rice from the stove. Add some butter and fluff it with a fork. This is optionally. It makes the rice soft and fluffy.
  • When the lentils are cooked, you can serve them with rice. Garnish with a lime wedge, some sliced chilies, and some cilantro.


Fresh or whole dried spices taste significantly better. Grind them yourself in a mortar.

Traditional Dal has the consistency of more of a soup than a stew. However, everyone makes it different and there is no harm in making the recipe according to your preferences. You can always boil water off in the process or add more.

Add cream cheese into the lentil Dal for extra creaminess.

Lentils do not need to be soaked before cooking. Learn more about “How to soak… dried legumes, beans, peas?

Substitute water with the tomato juice of the can. Boil the lentils in 600-800 ml water-tomato-juice.

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