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Simmy’s Pakistani Lentil Curry

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  • Chef: Simmi
  • Type: main
  • Serves: 4
  • Time: Prep: 10mins Cook: 30mins

This Pakistani lentil curry is delicately spiced and contains lots of healthy protein in the form of lentils. A must-try dinner recipe for the whole family. LEAP member Simmy cooked her Pakistani lentil curry for fellow members on Friday 11 January, at Myatt’s Fields North. Adults and children alike loved this recipe and there weren’t many leftovers! Lentil curry, also called dal or dhal, is common across south Asia. Simmy’s version comes from Pakistan and is the recipe that her own mum taught her.


  • 500g red lentils
  • 5 heaped tsp coriander powder
  • 5 heaped tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 heaped tsp chilli powder, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 level tsp turmeric
  • Freshly ground black pepper, optional
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt, optional
  • Fresh coriander, chopped, to serve
  • Oil for cooking


  1. Wash the lentils in a sieve or colander until the water runs clear.
  2. Place in a large saucepan and add cold water so that it covers the lentils by about 2 inches.
  3. Add the coriander powder, cumin powder, chilli powder, turmeric and black pepper and stir well.
  4. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover the saucepan with a lid and simmer on a low heat.
  5. If the lentils absorb all the water add a little more – your curry should be the consistency of soup.
  6. Cook for around 20 minutes, stirring often, until the lentils are cooked.
  7. Set aside.
  8. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and cook until golden brown.
  9. Add the garlic along with the cumin seeds and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the garam masala.
  10. Pour the onion mixture into the lentils, along with the oil, and stir well.
  11. Serve with rice and fresh coriander.