Dhal Curry

The best dhal curry recipe for ‘roti canai’ or ‘roti pratha’, an Indian-influenced flatbread. This Indian dhal curry is mild in spiciness yet rich in flavour can also be served with rice and is loved by kids and adults alike.

5 stars

Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 40 mins


Curry for Roti Canai, Kari Dal, Indian Dhal Curry

Malaysian, Singaporean, Indian, Bruneian

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Nutrition per Serving

405 kcal
71 g
8 g
17 g

Here is an easy dhal curry recipe using yellow lentils which are said to be one of the healthiest food around. It is good for the heart and also aids in getting rid of infections.

In Malaysia and Singapore, this curry is very popular at Mamak eateries as it is eaten along with an Indian-influenced flatbread called ‘roti canai’ or ‘roti pratha’. Here are some tips to making the best dhal curry.

Is this dhal curry spicy?

Not at all. In fact, dhal curry is not meant to be hot and spicy. You can make it spicier by adding more dried chillies to the recipe as the suggested amount mentioned does not make the dhal curry hot.

Do lentils need to be soaked?

No. Lentils do not need to be soaked before cooking. They are soaked to reduce the cooking time. As they are dry and hard, they are soak for 20 minutes in hot water or at least 6 hours in room temperature water.

Either way, the lentils are going to turn out fine.

Speed up dhal cooking process

It usually takes a long time to cook dhal until they start breaking down, which creates the thick consistency that we love on rice and roti canai.

Therefore, blending it towards the end of the cooking process for a few seconds helps to create that texture needed within a short time. You can use the classic stand blender or the hand blender.

How to serve dhal?

As dhal curry is not at all spicy. it is suitable even for young children. It is good enough to be enjoyed just as it is or served together with bread, roti canai, paratha, chapati or rice.


yellow onion(s)
1 tbsp
1 tsp
garlic clove(s)
curry leaves stalk(s)
1⁄2 tbsp
turmeric powder
aubergine (Indian)
250 g
chana dhal
1 1⁄2 l
chilli peppers (dried)
1⁄2 tbsp

Steps to Prepare

Dhal Curry Step 1

Step 1 of 4

    • 1 yellow onion(s)
    • 1⁄2 tbsp oil

Heat oil over medium heat and sauté sliced onions until golden brown. Remove onions from pan and leave aside.

Dhal Curry Step 2

Step 2 of 4

Using the same pan, fry chopped shallots, minced garlic, minced ginger and curry leaves until fragrant. Add tomato slices. Cover pan with the lid to allow tomatoes to soften.

Dhal Curry Step 3

Step 3 of 4

    • 1⁄2 tbsp turmeric powder
    • 1 carrot(s)
    • 1 potatoes
    • 1 aubergine (Indian)
    • 250 g chana dhal
    • 1 1⁄2 l water
    • 2 chilli peppers (dried)

Chop carrots, potatoes, aubergine and carrots into bite-size pieces. Add them into the pot along with turmeric powder, dried chillies and dhal. Add water and cook over high heat.

Dhal Curry Step 4

Step 4 of 4

    • 1⁄2 tbsp salt

Once it boils, lower heat to the minimum and simmer for about 30 minutes or until dhal softens. Keep stirring from time to time to prevent curry from being burnt. Add salt to taste. Finally, stir in fried onions.

Published: July 11, 2016

4 Discussions

Sophie Filer
3 years ago

Sophie Filer

Sounds delicious! Can I make a large quantity and freeze/reheat this curry?

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
3 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Sure, I look forward to your food snap!

4 years ago


Super delicious, thanks for the recipe 👍

Low Wan Xin
4 years ago

Low Wan Xin

Tried this dish this morning. It was done within an hour. Was surprised how simple the ingredients and steps are. As a die-hard chilli fan, I used 5 dried chillis for a 4-person portion. The resulting taste has a good kick without being too spicy.

4 years ago


As a chilli fan too, I'm going to add more chillies the next time I make it. This tip is fantastic. :D

4 years ago


Made this dish as one of the accompaniments to go with nasi briyani for a Malay/Indian food theme night. I added in some mustard seed at the sauteeing stage and substituted potatoes for cut beans. Tasted nice, good easy recipe to follow.

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
4 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

What a wonderful dinner!

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