Make This Comforting Daal Chawal to Warm You Up This Fall

Daal chawal, ready to serve
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
2-4 servings

Daal chawal, or spiced lentils and rice, is a staple in many Indian homes. It is a dish made across the Indian subcontinent, and the recipes for daal vary from home to home. It’s something I grew up eating and continue to make for my family.

Lentils are a budget-friendly nutritional powerhouse; they’re naturally gluten-free, vegan, and are filled with nutrients like iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and more. They’re the perfect hearty dish to make on cool, busy autumn and winter nights. My version is an homage to my Punjabi background, where lentils and pulses are eaten daily – especially for the vegan and vegetarian crowd.

Punjabi daal is topped with a tadka of tempered warming spices, and cooked in earthy homemade ghee. Enjoy this daal over top warm basmati rice, or with fresh buttery roti, and if you’re up for it: try eating with your hands!

Related: Hearty Lentil Recipes We’re Making on Repeat



cup orange lentils/masoor daal, washed well
3 ½
cups water
Tbsp ghee, plus more for garnish (sub a neutral oil, like sunflower, to make this dish vegan)
cup finely chopped yellow onion
dried Kashmiri chills
green chilis, finely chopped, plus more to garnish
medium garlic cloves, minced
Tbsp grated ginger
1 ¼
cup grated ripe tomatoes, skins discarded
tsp cumin seeds
1 ½
tsp ground coriander
1 ½
tsp ground cumin
tsp turmeric
tsp cayenne, to taste
1 ½
tsp salt, to taste
tsp garam masala, plus more for garnish
Fresh cilantro, to garnish
Lemon wedges, to garnish
Cooked basmati rice, to serve
White onion, thinly sliced, to serve


Ingredients for daal chawal
Step 1

In a medium sized pot over medium high heat, add the lentils and water

Lentils and water in a pot
Step 2

Bring to a boil, skim off the scum and discard.

Scum being skimmed off of boiled lentils
Step 3

Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the lentils are easily mashed, but still have shape and texture to them. Remove from heat and aside.

Step 4

In a deep skillet over medium heat, add the ghee, onions, and dried chilis. Sauté until softened and translucent.

Onions and dried chilis in a skillet
Step 5

Add the green chilis, garlic and ginger. Cook over medium heat until the onions become a medium golden brown.

Tadka ingredients in a skillet
Step 6

Add in the tomatoes and spices.

Tadka ingredients in a skillet
Step 7

Mix to combine and cook for about five minutes, or until the ghee separates from the tomato and spice mixture.

Step 8

Add the cooked lentils into the tadka, and mix well.

Cooked lentils being combined with tadka.
Step 9

With the stove on medium low heat, bring the daal to a light simmer. Cover and cook for five minutes, to help the lentils really absorb the flavours of the tadka. For extra heat, use a spoon to crush the kashmiri chilis open. Taste for salt.

Daal sprinkled with garam masala in a skillet
Step 10

Off the heat, garnish the daal with a dusting of garam masala, a good squeeze of lemon juice, some melted ghee, and lots of fresh cilantro.

Step 11

Serve the daal over top fresh, warm, basmati rice with lemon wedges, spicy green chilis, and thinly sliced onions.

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