Bengali Dhal


Here is my recipe for dhal based on my many experiences cooking with my friends over the years. We love this served over freshly made basmati rice. Don't skimp on the caramelized onions and garlic — it totally makes this recipe amazing!

close up view of Bengali Dhal with fresh herbs in a pot
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 1 cup red lentils

  • 3 cups water

  • 1 cup onion, thinly sliced, divided

  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped, divided

  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 bay leaf

  • ¾ cup cherry tomatoes

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 2 (2 inch) whole serrano chile peppers (Optional)

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


  1. Wash lentils in a strainer. Combine lentils and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the sliced onions and garlic, reserving the rest for later. Stir in turmeric, bay leaf, tomatoes, and salt. Add chiles, leaving them whole to add flavor or cut in half to add heat. When mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to a simmer; cook until lentils break apart and thicken slightly, about 20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat until oil shimmers. Add reserved sliced onions; cook and stir until onion has softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue cooking and stirring until onion is very tender and dark brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Stir in reserved garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant and tender, about 2 minutes.

  3. Add onion-garlic mixture into cooked lentils and stir. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

224 Calories
4g Fat
34g Carbs
13g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 224
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Sodium 304mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 16g 56%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 13g
Vitamin C 12mg 62%
Calcium 48mg 4%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 600mg 13%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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