Dahl Curry, Basmati Rice with Cucumber and Mint Riata

A wonderfully spiced and authentic tasting lentil curry with carrot and potatoes. Served with Basmati rice and a delicious cucumber and mint riata.

Sorry I haven’t written many recipes lately as I have been extremely busy, however I think I have made up for the delay with this one. Tastes like it is straight from a very good Indian restaurant, and it is so easy to make!

I also served this with shop bough roti breads, these are entirely optional.

Serves two

Cooking time 45-50 minutes

Ingredients and Method

Broken down into three sections – curry, rice and riata. It is best to soak the rice before you start, add make the riata and finish the rice as the lentils simmer.

Dahl curry

100g red lentils – rinsed thoroughly

50g potato – peel, cut into 3-4cm cubes, pre cook in boiling water for 6-7 minutes

3 red onions – diced

1 carrot – thinly slice on diagonal

15g ginger – peel and grate

6 gloves garlic – crushed 

5 green cardamom pods

5 cloves

6 fresh curry leaves

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp ground fenugreek

1/4 tsp asafoetida

1 bay leaf

2 round tomatoes – cut into 1/8ths

2 sliced green chillies

1/2 tsp salt

water – approx. 500ml of water, enough to submerge lentils.

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

3tbs roughly chopped coriander leaf

Method: Start by heating the vegetable oil over a medium heat, once hot add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and the curry leaves. The leaves should sizzle and keep heating until the mustard seeds start to pop, a bit like popcorn.

Add the onion, chilli, garlic, ginger, bay leaf, cloves and cardamom pods then fry, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes until onions soften and start to colour.

Add the lentils, turmeric, fenugreek and asafoetida then stir well until combined. Fry for 1-2 minutes stirring frequently.

Now add approx. 500ml of water (around the same volume as mixture in the pan, enough to submerge the lentils) and bring to the boil, stirring frequently so lentils don’t catch on the pan. Once boiled and add the pre cooked potatoes, carrot and salt then cover pan and simmer for around 35-40 minutes, stirring every few minutes to prevent lentils catching and burning.

You may want to adjust the seasoning or thickness of the sauce to your preference, either by adding more water or cooking uncovered for a few minutes to cook the liquid off. Before serving add the sliced tomatoes and coriander – cooking just long enough to warm the tomatoes through but not long enough to cook them (not long enough that skins start to peel).

Ladle into bowls or Balti dishes and enjoy!

Basmati rice

120g basmati rice – rinse well and soak in water for 30 minutes before cooking

Method: soak the rinsed rice in water for around 30 minutes, this plumps up the rice and makes a real difference.

Once soaked cook the rice in the same volume of water as the rice in a covered pan for 10-12 minutes or until rice absorbs all the water.

Fluff up the rice before serving.


Cucumber and Mint Riata

150g greek yogurt

1/4 lime – juice only

40g cucumber – peel, deseed, finely dice

5-6 mint leaves – bruise then chop

salt – just a pinch

Method: start by peeling, deseeding then finely dicing the cucumber. Many recipes will call for this to be grated, however I prefer the texture of the diced cucumber. Lay the diced cucumber on a clean kitchen towel or absorbent paper and the place more on top. Press gently and leave for 10-15 minutes to remove excess liquid.

In a bowl mix the yogurt, lime juice, cucumber, mint and a pinch of salt. Cover and set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.

This is best eaten the same day but will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days – any leftovers make a great dip for chips.







Turmeric, Chilli and Lime Salmon with Lentil Dahl curry and Pilau rice

Salmon fillets, marinated in lime and turmeric then pan-fried. Served with a Dahl style lentil curry and pilau rice. Garnished with some sliced tomato, red onion and coriander.

This dish may look a little yellow, but don’t let that fool you – this is one of best curries I have designed in a while.


Serves two people

Preparation time 20 minutes, cooking time 50-60 minutes


For the salmon:

2 skinless salmon fillets

Juice of two limes

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 red bird eye chilli – thinly sliced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil – to fry salmon

Method: In a bowl mix the turmeric, sliced chilli and lime juice. Put salmon in bowl and give a god coating on all sides. Put in a fridge for at least an hour before cooking (best 2-3 hours) and remove 30 minutes before cooking to bring back to room temperature. The marinade will change the salmon from pink to yellow and infuse it with a wonderful flavour. To cook, heat two tablespoons of oil in a wide frying pan over a medium high heat. Cook the salmon for 4-5 minutes on each side then remove and place on absorbent paper to drain before serving.

For Dahl curry

125g red lentils – washed thoroughly

2 -3 round tomatoes – remove skin and seeds

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large white onion

3-4 cloves garlic

1 green chilli – thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon ground asafoetida

1 teaspoon salt – extra to taste


8-10 curry leafs

Garnish – 1 sliced tomato, 1 sliced red onion and chopped coriander

Method: Start by heating the oil in a deep pan over a medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds and fry until the begin to start to pop then add the onion, chilli, tomato and the garlic. Fry for 3-4 minutes then add the turmeric, stir well and fry for an additional minute then add the washed lentils and stir well. Add enough water to completely cover the lentils and bring to a simmer. Add the curry leafs , a  teaspoon of salt and the asafoetida , stir well,  and reduce heat to a simmer for 50 minutes, checking each 10 minutes and adding extra water as the lentils thicken and water cooks off. The dish is ready when the lentils break down and the sauce is at your chosen consistency. Before serving taste for seasoning and add additional salt to your taste. Add some sliced tomato, red onion and coriander as a garnish to the dish when served.

Pilau rice

150 basmati or long grain rice – rinsed thoroughly
1 white onion – diced
2 cloves garlic – thinly sliced
15g butter
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
4 cloves
4 cardamom pods
Bay leaf
Pinch saffron
Chicken stock – twice the volume of the rinsed rice

You require a medium to large pan with a tight-fitting lid (glass is best)
Method: melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat then add the onion, garlic and all the spices. Stir and fry for around 4 minutes until the onion softens and the spices become aromatic. Add the rice and stir through until the rice is fully coated and the mixed through the spiced onion mixture. Add twice the volume of stock to the volume of rice, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover pan with a tight-fitting lid and leave on a low heat. Let the rice drink the stock as it cooks, it should take around 10 minutes for the rice to fully absorb the stock. Once stock is fully absorbed carefully remove pan lid and fluff rice with a fork before serving.