Luscious carrot dal with spinach


This recipe appeared in The Guardian a few years ago in a feature by Anna Jones on one-pot meals. It’s been a go-to dal recipe ever since. Using red lentils makes it quite speedy without compromising the rich, warm flavours of the south Indian spices. Do use fresh curry leaves if you can get them (try Ozmen). Eat with plain basmati rice, plain yogurt, and some poppadoms for crunch.


  • Garlic - 2 cloves, peeled and grated
  • Fresh ginger - 1 thumb-sized piece, grated
  • Green chilli - 1, finely chopped
  • Red onion - 1, finely chopped
  • Coconut or vegetable oil
  • Curry leaves - small handful
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
  • Black mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Ground turmeric - 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon - 1 tsp
  • Red lentils - 200g
  • Coconut milk - 1 x 400ml tin
  • Vegetable stock - 400ml
  • 5 medium carrots, scrubbed and grated
  • 2 large handful of spinach, large stalks removed
  • Fresh coriander leaves - a handful
  • Lemon juice (half a lemon)


  1. Put a large saucepan on a medium heat, add a little coconut oil and then the garlic, ginger, onion and chilli. Cook for around 10 mins, or until the onion is soft and sweet.
  2. Pound the curry leaves, cumin and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar, then add to the pan along with the other spices. Cook for a couple of minutes to toast and release the oils.
  3. Add the lentils, coconut milk and stock to the pan and bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down and bubble away for 25–30 minutes. Add the grated carrots halfway through.
  4. To finish your dal, take it off the heat, stir in the spinach and allow it to wilt a little, stir in the coriander and the lemon juice too. Pile into bowls with basmati rice and a dollop of yogurt.