Dal Spread
30 Min

Dal Spread

Coming from a country where more than half the population subsists on dozens of varieties of lentils, I’ve often looked over with envious irritation at the immense popularity of hummus, the Middle Eastern cold chickpea spread. Though I would personally rather eat a steaming bowl of dal wafting with aromatic warm spices, I get the convenient and simple appeal of hummus.

India has officially recorded 500 regional preparations of dal, the lentil stew, yet I can promise you that none of them is served cold. This may be in part because based on Ayurvedic principles, beans are easier to digest warm. However, I decided to do some experimenting and started with the simplest kind of lentil, the humble yellow moong dal. It just needs a 20-minute soak and cooks in another 15-20 minutes. Instead of sesame seeds, I used toasted peanut butter and instead of lemon, I topped the spread off with amchur, the green mango powder and lemony coriander seeds.

And in place of garlic, I used ginger, which is typically used when preparing dal to mitigate the bloating often associated with beans. The results were absolutely delicious and worth a try. I know I will be experimenting with new combinations for some time to come.

Share this recipe
Cook Time

30 Minutes



Step 1
Rinse the lentils and soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain. Combine with 2 cups of water, turmeric, salt, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (leave the rest for garnish), and ginger and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the stockpot, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 2
Turn the heat off and let the lentils rest for another 10 to 15 minutes. Drain.
Step 3
In a food processor, mix the drained lentils, peanut butter and 3 tablespoons of peanut oil until smooth. Chill until ready to serve.
Step 4
To serve, spread the purée in a shallow bowl. Top with amchur, remaining chili powder and peanuts.
Step 5
Heat the remaining oil and pop the coriander seeds. Immediately pour the oil over the spices and swirl it in with a spoon or a knife. Top the spread with micro greens or herbs if available.
1 cup small yellow or orange lentils
Generous pinch of ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3/4 teaspoon chili powder, divided
1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger
1/3 cup peanut oil
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon amchur
Few peanuts for garnish
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
Few microgreens or herbs for garnish

Notes & Variations

  • Almost any lentil or bean can be used to make hummus; however, the bigger the bean, the longer it will take to cook. The yellow moong dal is the smallest lentil, so it does cook very fast.
  • Instead of peanut butter, use almond or cashew butter.
  • Coriander add a complexity of flavor — replace with cumin or mustard seeds.
  • Substitute peanut oil with olive or sesame oil.
30 Min

Stock Your Pantry

Here we go talking about Dal again...

We're sorry, it's just too good! Here are some more recipes that'll change your life.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.