Spicy Detox Dhal | Indian Cuisine | Veggie Magnifique

Spicy Detox Dhal

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During my university years, I pretty much lived on red split lentils boiled in water. Yes, it was a rather spartan diet! But they were the cheapest, most filling food I could find, and were quick and easy to cook, too.

Alas, at the time I wasn’t aware of the heavenly association of lentils with coconut milk + spices. This could have saved my tastebuds from major boredom, as these magic ingredients have the power to turn any bland food into a satisfying, creamy meal. Plus, FYI, when you use spices in cooking it makes food even more filling.

Ann and I have been having lots of fun with Indian recipes recently, because this weekend we held a ‘Detoxing With Ayurvedic Spices’ cooking workshop at My Kitch’n, a vegan restaurant in Paris. Our main dish was this delicious spicy dhal, and it was a hit!

Our dhal is aromatic, creamy, and filling, and yet, despite its unctuousness, it is still a detox meal thanks to all the powerful spices.

Here are the benefits of the spices used in this recipe:

  • Cumin: digestive aid
  • Cinnamon: regulates blood sugar
  • Turmeric: anti-inflammatory
  • Cayenne: stimulates blood flow and metabolism
  • Ginger: stimulates blood flow, settles stomach

The secret to this recipe is to temper the spices (which just means you heat the spices in oil until their flavours are released. Nothing fancy. But definitely flash this vocab in a social situation for major chef cred).

Dal ingredients

The result is a spicy and creamy party in your mouth.

So, let’s make dhal!

Spicy Detox Dhal

Prep time


Cook time


Total time


  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp each powdered cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and cayenne pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 inch ginger root, grated
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup/200g dry red split lentils
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon agave/maple syrup
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat the coconut oil over a medium heat in a frying pan.
  2. Place the lentils in a separate pan, pour 2 cups water over them, bring to the boil, and then simmer for 20 mins, adding water as needed. (Keep a close watch over the lentils, they can go from a gentle simmer to a volcanic eruption of foam in a matter of seconds!)
  3. Add the powdered spices to the heated coconut oil and temper for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the onion and ginger to the spices, and cook until the onion goes see-through.
  5. Add the tomatoes to the frying pan. Stir for 2 mins.
  6. Mix the coconut milk into the cooked lentils.
  7. Add the tempered spices, onion, ginger and tomato to the cooked lentils, and then add the sweetener. Season to your liking with salt and pepper.
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Et voilà! Your dhal is ready. Serve over brown rice for a deliciously satisfying meal.

Do let us know how your dhal turns out in the comments below!

कृपया भोजन का आनंद लीजिये *,

*bon appétit 😉

p.s. Lesson learnt from our workshop: for a successful dhal, the cooking process must be accompanied by this bangin’ Bhangra tune plus curly hand movements and hip shaking.

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22 March, 2016 | facebook | tweet | pin

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7 thoughts on “Spicy Detox Dhal

  1. Juno Dunn says:

    I like these short recipes. Sounds yummy and I’ll be dancing.

    1. Chloe says:

      Hooray! Glad to hear it. We can have a dance party this weekend.

  2. Rebecca James says:

    I’m going to make this tomorrow! Quick question….1 tsp of each of cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and cayenne pepper – or a tsp combined? The answer is probably obvious but I haven’t cooked much with this mix of spices so thought I should check!

    1. Chloe says:

      Hey Rebecca! That’s super cool that you’re trying this recipe – let us know how it turns out! And it’s one tsp of each – sorry, that wasn’t clear at all, will rectify! Hope you enjoy the spicy goodness xxx

  3. Rebecca James says:

    It’s delicious! V easy to make! Thank-you! xxxxx

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