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Persian red lentil stew with spices

Servings 4
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins


  • 220 g red lentils
  • 1 big potato or two medium-size potatoes optional
  • 1 gros oignon jaune
  • 4 gousses d'ail
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp red pepper powder mild or strong according to your taste
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 + ½ tbsp tamarind paste or 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 fresh tomato or a can of diced tomatoes (optional)


  • Finely chop the onion and garlic.
  • Peel and cut the potato into small pieces from about 1 cm on each side.
  • In a large saucepan, heat a generous drizzle of olive oil and sauté the onion for 6 minutes over low heat.
  • Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and the spices (turmeric, cumin, red pepper, cinnamon, salt and pepper), mix well and brown for 1 minute.
  • Add the lentils and diced potatoes to the pan. Cover with water up to 2 cm above your mixture.
  • Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and cover with a lid. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more water if necessary.
  • After 15 minutes, add the tamarind (or lemon) if you want to add a tangy touch to your dal, and cook for another 15 minutes over low heat, uncovered.
  • You can also add the tomato at this time if you put some.
  • Serve in soup plates, sprinkled with a few coriander leaves. Personally I always add a little sumac.
  • Accompany the dal with Iranian cooked basmati rice (see recipe on the blog) or naans or lavash type bread.


As indicated in the basic recipe, several ingredients are optional depending on the taste you want.
Tamarind or lemon will add a tangy touch, you may prefer a less tangy flavor, in this case do not add any.
Instead of tomato or potato, or as a complement, you can add some diced squash or carrots.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: Lentils