Spicy, Tangy Dhal – Bangladeshi style

Spicy, Tangy Dhal – Bangladeshi style

Yellow split pea of toovar dhal was a firm favourite in our house when I lived at home and was served on days we ate vegetables only for our fasts or when serving meat breyanis and other curries. I’d say a dhal of some sort featured on the menu at least 3-4 times a week.

This fairly easy recipe is adapted from the Bangladeshi Toovar (or ‘sour’ because of the addition of tomatoes) dhal by the wonderful Rick Stein, Uncle Rick, whom you should know I adore muchly and is very similar to the one my Mother makes.


 4- 6 servings

1 cup yellow split-peas dhal

1 l water

3 T vegetable oil

1 medium onion sliced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 t turmeric

1 tsp freshly ground cumin seeds

1 tsp fresh ground coriander seeds

2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped

2cm tamarind soaked in few T hot water to make, 1 T paste

2 green chillis, slit lengthwise

salt, to taste

1 t black or brown mustard seeds

1 t cumin seeds

10 curry leaves

1 cinnamon stick, broken


Cook dhal on the  stove in 1 l water until softened and reduced. May take up to 55 minutes.

In another pot, heat  2 T oil and fry onions till soft and starting to colour. Remove  2 T onions and set aside.

Add garlic, turmeric and ground cumin and coriander and fry for a minute on low heat.

Add tomatoes and cook till they soften.

Add this mixture to the dhal along with the tamarind paste and chillies. Mix well.

You may want to add a little more water to thin. Adjust seasoning.

In small pot, fry the mustard seeds in the remaining oil on medium heat.

When they start to pop add the rest of the ingredients.

Fry till aromatic for a minute or so and add to the dhal along with reserved onions before serving.

Dhal is best served with rice or roti and a tomato sambal or vegetable pickle.

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By |2017-05-08T13:00:58+00:00August 7th, 2011|Destination Meals, Indian Food Easy Peasy, Mains, Recipe Index, Recipes, Travel|11 Comments


  1. Cyril Naicker August 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    Love this as it brings back memories to my time living at home with my parents. This is one dish I could never get right and use to bring this cooked from Natal…a lazy excuse but nothing beats mom’s cooking…I have since ventured out and cooked this right….loved seeing this on your blog! Good memories:)

  2. Jeanne @ Cooksister! August 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Ooh, I love dal – one of my ultimate comfort foods. Fab pics doll!

  3. Kim Mari August 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    looks delicious, like you, I grew up eating Dhal for the same reasons and loved it. Infact during my pregnancy couple months ago, I ate this quite often and if I didnt have time to make it, Bukhara restaurant does a pretty good version. 🙂

  4. Colleen August 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    I adore dhal and am slowly starting to eat again and this is exactly what is on my menu. I saw Sophie Dahl cooking it last week and have wanted it ever since 🙂 Very sooooon, just need to find me some yellow split lentils xx

  5. PinkPolkaDot August 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    Wow,it sounds like a wonderful dish! Yours styling and pics are perfect!! XXX

  6. Magda @ Daily Dose of Fresh August 10, 2011 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    I’m drooling right over my keyboard now! love Dahl.

  7. Val August 29, 2011 at 7:05 am - Reply

    This looks like a dhal recipe I have to try out. Beautiful photo too!

    • Ishay September 2, 2011 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      Hi Val

      Thanks for visiting the blog!

  8. Ana September 15, 2013 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    Greetings from your hand photographer! 😉

    mmmm I love dhal, this one sounds delish!

    Hey, I thought of you this morning, as I was leafing through Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra. She’s also married to a Dutch man, and has written a book on Dutch baking that sounds interesting – Windmills in My Oven. Gotta love the title like that. 🙂 Anyways, this book I’ve got is fantastic. I was reading through the baklava section and sighing. OK drooling. 🙂 Now that my Istanbul baklava rations are depleting, I’ll have to make my own….

    • Ishay September 15, 2013 at 11:27 pm - Reply

      Hello Ana! So wonderful to hear from you. That sounds like a wonderful book, and Gaitri sounds like someone I’d like to chat to. I see she’s also got a book out in Dutch. Better wire the message to the MIL 😉 I’m sure you’d be an ace baklava maker. They stuff is too sweet for me – just a bite is more or less enough. Hope to see you on the blog again soon.

      • Ana September 16, 2013 at 9:30 am - Reply

        She does, doesn’t it. I found the book very well written. As it happens, it’s a present from my MIL!
        I don’t normally like overly sweet food either, but baklava is a game changer, somehow. 🙂
        I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m making burek first though (got the yufka already). I had made Persian baklava before. Different, but also tasty.

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