This week we have a special treat!  A fellow foodie and lover of Indian food shares her recipe for Indian Dal and the art of cookin’ up love in the kitchen with her partner.


Indian Dal Recipe for Lovers  |  by: Mckenna Toston

Cooking is an art that fulfills me and keeps me grounded despite what’s happening in my world.  No matter what stressful events my day might bring, a little time in the kitchen always puts a smile back on my face–especially when I’m in the kitchen with my partner.

After five years of collaborating in the kitchen, Vincent and I have mastered cooking together.  I chop, he pours.  I stir, he seasons.  He flips, I plate.  Those are the basics, anyway.  Though simple they may seem, the logistics of cooking together took years to sort out—mostly since we both started out awfully inexperienced.

He grew up on microwaved hot dogs (no exaggeration, he had them three meals a day), and I grew up on homemade steak dinners.  Since we’ve both chosen a vegetarian lifestyle, very few, if any at all of the meals we had growing up are part of our diet today.  We essentially started from scratch, and happily so.

At this point, there’s (almost) nothing we enjoy more than making a meal together.  We play music we both love, get the burners going, and dive into the best quality couple time in the world.  We started with frying frozen veggie patties and steaming frozen vegetables, to making fresh and colorful salads and decadent three course meals complete with colors from all the vegetarian food groups.  Our current favorite: Yellow Indian Dal, inspired by my unforgettable trip to India, and my unquenchable craving for authentic Indian curry.

authentic dal makers
authentic dal makers

When I returned home from India, there was no satisfying my hunger for authentic dal.  No matter how many “authentic” Indian restaurants I went to, I was always disappointed.  Even returning to my favorite Indian restaurant after my journey East, I was left unsatisfied. I dragged Vincent along to every Indian joint in town until our taste buds—and stomachs—could no longer endure it.

I resorted to the option I innately knew was going to satisfy my craving, and decided to create my own version, with the intent of recreating the authentic flavor. I would mimic what I learned while there, and apply it in my own kitchen.  Another huge advantage of making this recipe in my own kitchen, is that I know what I’m adding and we can maintain the best quality and optimize the nutrient density.  In other words, we’ll have the healthiest version possible! Vincent’s help in the kitchen is especially useful for this recipe, since we have four burners going at one time.  We have the Indian tunes playing in the background to make it a real occasion!

Here’s my
Pseudo-Dal Recipe

Disclaimer: It’s just as far from authentic Indian dal as any restaurant in California, but it’s still delicious and it certainly satisfied my craving for the version from the origin!

The ingredients:

1-cup red lentils

1-cup rice (I prefer brown or wild rice)

2 cans of coconut milk

2 large tomatoes

3 medium sized potatoes

4 cloves garlic

1 onion

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons curry powder

juice from half a large lemon

salt to taste

fresh cilantro for garnish

Here’s the way we cook it up:

When I first started cooking this recipe, it took me about an hour. Now that Vincent and I have it down to a science, we can get this bad-boy going in less than 20.

1.)  In a large pot, bring two cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the cup of rice, then simmer and cook until soft. Brown rice takes longer, sometimes up to 45 minutes.

2.)  In another pot, pour the lentils into the two cans of coconut milk and add one cup of water. Mix these together and bring to a boil. Once boiling, simmer and cover until soft. This doesn’t take long (15-20 minutes), so keep an eye on it. I like to keep my lentils from turning into complete mush to optimize their health benefits.

3.)  Cube your potatoes and boil them until soft (I stick a fork in mine to see). When they’re ready, add them to the lentils.

4.)  While the potatoes are cooking, chop the onion (I like mine in large strips, but they can also be diced or however you like them) and cook with a small dab of coconut oil in pan.

5.)  Mince the garlic and add it to the onions.

6.)  Allow the onions to cook thoroughly (they’ll be see-through when they’re ready), and then add the curry powder and bay leaf.

7.)  Then boil the tomatoes until they’re soft. At this point they’re pretty squishy, so just chop them to whatever size you like and add them to the lentils.

8.)  When everything is cooked to completion, I add all but the rice to the lentils. Stir it up real nice, squeeze half a lemon in it, add salt to taste.

I like to garnish mine with some fresh chopped cilantro. And if you want some spice, add a bit of chili powder. I also adjust the amount of curry powder depending on my mood that day, so play around and see what you like.dal

Eh… viola!  There you have it, my pseudo-dal recipe.  I’m a huge supporter of adding your own touch, so get inspired and see what happens!  This turns out to be a big meal, but it will keep in the fridge for a few days, so if you don’t have enough people to share with, you can certainly enjoy the leftovers.

Whether it’s an hour long recipe, or just whipping something up in the kitchen, making a meal can allow me to unwind and from the day. More importantly, kitchen time with my lover nourishes our relationship!  Do you know what I think is the best part of it all?  Celebrating, by fully enjoying every bite of the delicious co-creation together 🙂

Did you love this article?  Lana and I both would be so grateful if you’d share it with your friends.  It’s always more fun to co-create 😉

We LOVE to get your feedback, questions and comments!  Please share in the comments below what you thought of this article.  Let us know if you try it.  If you have any other amazing recipes that you love to use with your lover, share them with us.  Do you have your own Dal recipe?  Share it with us!