Indian Dal Soup

Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 40 minutes


By Veronica Patenaude
This is by far the best dal soup I have ever had in my life. This soup is mild, very aromatic and filling. I make double batches of this soup regularly. It goes that quickly!


  • 8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 6 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 2 1/2 tsp roasted ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 tsp roasted ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
  • 5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup water (as necessary to thin, if needed)
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Herbamare or sea salt to taste


Place 1 cup of the broth in a large soup pot. Add the onions, garlic and ginger and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. (Alternatively, dry saute the onions, garlic and ginger in a large non-stick skillet until browned and then add this to 1 cup of the broth in the soup pot and heat to bring out more flavors.) Add the remaining broth, lentils and all the seasonings (up to the tomato paste). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are tender and falling apart. Stir in the tomato paste and whisk until well combined. If you like a thinner dal, add a bit of the water until the consistency is the way you like it. Add Herbamare or salt and pepper to taste. Taste and adjust other seasonings as well, such as the cumin and paprika. The flavor should be complex and very savory. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

Hints: Look for roasted cumin powder and roasted ground coriander for more complexity in flavor. If you can't find it, the regular ground varieties will do. Use cassia cinnamon (not Ceylon) for best flavor results.