Recipe courtesy of Bal Arneson

Dal Soup

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Prep: 5 min
  • Inactive: 20 min
  • Cook: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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2 tablespoons grape seed oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic

2 tablespoons garam masala, recipe follows

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1 cup brown lentils

5 cups water

Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper

Few fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Garam Masala

1/2 cup coriander seeds

1/2 cup cumin seeds

1/4 cup dried curry leaves* (See Cook's Note)

2 tablespoons black peppercorns

2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds

5 whole cloves

2 black cardamom pods

2 cinnamon sticks

2 bay leaves

2 dried red chiles


  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to get hot. Add the garlic, garam masala, cumin seeds, and turmeric and cook for 20 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the lentils and water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and cook until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Serve in a bowl and garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs.

To make garam masala:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Combine the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, black peppercorns, mustard seeds, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and chiles on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 15 minutes. 
  3. Transfer the mixture to an electric spice grinder, or use a mortar and pestle and grind by hand. Grind to a fine powder. Store the garam masala in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Cook’s Note

Can be found at specialty Asian and Indian markets.