Deliciously Ella’s 15-minute black dhal recipe

Whether you’re working from home or wanting a quick and easy weekend lunch, this 15-minute black dhal recipe by Deliciously Ella ticks all the boxes.

This is a shortcut recipe for a quick, creamy, deeply flavoursome black dhal.

Traditional black dhal uses black urad dhal (lentils), but cooking those from scratch takes a long time, so we’ve swapped them for precooked Puy lentils so that you can get lunch on the table in 15-minutes, making it a quick and easy option.

The chilli, ginger, red onion and coriander give it a punchy flavour that’s equally warming and invigorating.

Deliciously Ella’s 15-minute black dhal recipe:


1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

small chunk of ginger (about 2cm), peeled and finely chopped

1 long green chilli, finely chopped

250g pack of cooked Puy lentils or 1 400g tin of green lentils, drained and rinsed

1 heaped tbsp tomato purée

125ml coconut cream, plus extra to serve

2 tsp medium curry powder

2 large handfuls of spinach (about 100g)

juice of ½ lemon

½ bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

sea salt

Serves 12


Step 1.

Warm the olive oil in a saucepan set over a medium heat.

Set aside about a third of each of the chopped onion, ginger and chilli, then add the remainder to the pan.

Cook for 8–10 minutes, until soft and fragrant.

Step 2.

While the onion is cooking, add 2 tablespoons of lentils, the tomato purée, coconut cream, curry powder and a pinch of salt to a food processor or mini chopper and blitz until completely smooth.

Step 3.

Add the spice paste to the onions and cook for another minute, then add the remaining lentils and 200ml of boiling water.

Bring to a simmer then add the spinach and lemon juice, stirring until the spinach has wilted.

Taste to check the seasoning and adjust as needed.

Step 4.

Divide the dhal between serving bowls and scatter over the reserved onion, ginger and chilli, followed by the coriander, a pinch of salt and an extra spoonful of coconut cream.

If you don’t have any coconut cream, swap it for coconut yoghurt, stirring it all in at the end. 

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Healthy Made Simple cookbook cover by Deliciously Ella This is an edited extract from DELICIOUSLY ELLA: HEALTHY MADE SIMPLE by Ella Mills, published by Yellow Kite.