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South Indian Dahl



During Fall Renewal 10 Day Detox, I want to shine some sparkle on the amazing people in my life. So for the next 10 days, I will feature recipes from superstar clients and fellow health coaches.

For Day 3,  you have to make this amazing dish from my lovely friend and Kickin’ It Clean beauty, Ally Tierney!

This is one of my favorite fall/winter recipes and is really like a comfort food for me. I know it looks like more than ten ingredients, but they are mostly spices.  Whenever I am down in the dumps, this is my go to meal!   I lived in South India for a year.  During that year, not only did I study theater and dance, but I fell head over heals in love with the culture and people.  The program that I had attended, had a house that we could go to for breakfast and lunch.  Some of my best memories were helping the women in the kitchen cook.  This was one of my favorite meals- especially when it was severed with lemon rice!  I adapted it a little and put in some spice options.  You can make it as spicy and flavorful as you like.  If you don’t want to add the chili pepper, try adding a couple of cardamom pods!  I know curry leaves are hard to find (I go all the way to Baltimore to buy them!) but if you go into an international grocery store, see if they carry them- they really do transform this dish!

South Indian Dahl

1 Cup Masoor Dahl (red lentils)

1 tsp. turmeric powder

Grapeseed oil  or any other oil you like to cook with

1 small onion finely chopped

2inch piece of ginger finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 green chili pepper (Serrano) finally chopped or sliced down the middle

1 tomato chopped

1 tablespoon of Garam masala or curry powder (or maybe ½ teaspoon of cumin powder and ½ teaspoon of coriander powder – whatever you have)

½ a can of coconut milk

Juice of one lemon

Salt to taste


10 curry leaves

Teaspoon of black mustard seeds

Dried chili pepper


  1. Rinse lentils with cold water several  times making sure to pick out any lentils that are discolored, little sticks etc. and until the water runs clear.  When they are thoroughly rinsed, cover with water so that the water line is about an inch above the lentils.
  2. Add the turmeric powder.  Bring to a boil and then simmer. (These lentils will loose their shape and make a nice thick soup- usually takes about 25 minutes).  The lentils will absorb the water so keep an eye on it, you might need to add more warm water.
  3. In a small frying pan, heat some grapeseed oil (a couple tablespoons) and fry the onion until translucent.  Add the chopped ginger, garlic and chili pepper .  Fry for a couple of minutes and then add the tomato.
  4. Make sure the heat is lowered and add your spices (the heat will release all the oils in the spices!).  Stir constantly for a minute and then add everything to your lentils and stir.
  5. Stir in ½ a can of coconut milk.
  6. Salt to taste and finish off with the juice of 1 lemon (less if you want it less tangy).


In a small frying pan, heat up a tablespoon of oil and add the black mustard seeds, curry leaves and chili.  When the seeds start to pop, add the mixture to your dahl and stir.

Serve the dahl over brown rice or quinoa!

Ally Tierney  is partner and designer for 2Hands Studios, and co-produces the 2 Hands Indie Craft Market.  Plus she is so funny and her hair, oh, her hair!:)

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3 Responses to South Indian Dahl

Dee Ryder

I LOVE Dahl. Not a kind have I tried that i didn’t enjoy! AND so easy to make. The curry leaves.. ever try freezing some? Not as good as fresh but in a pinch it works.. i just add more. but then I love the curry leaves, even in an omelette 🙂 off to buy some coconut milk woo hooooooooooooooo

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Oh yes, Dee! I can feel your enthusiasm for the curry over here!!! Love it! I never tried freezing the curry leaves. I’m sure Ally has! Let me know when you make this amazing dish!

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