Dhaal – Lentils cooked with red chard

The long weekend was super busy for me as on Saturday we were visiting friends for lunch and dinner, the next day I was strolling through the streets of San Francisco and also through the isles of Fancy Food Show, totally lost tasting new foods and the last day we were at the Happy Hollow zoo with little S. Since we were done with our bit of eating outside, I cooked our all time favorite comfort food – “dhaal with greens” for dinner last night . I have been experimenting lentil curry with greens like mustard leaves, swiss chard, beet leaves, raddish leaves, to name a few.

Last night after a long day at the zoo, we came home around 6 and I fixed this for dinner. They are hearty, nutritious and has close to 1 tablespoon oil. I made it with red chard this time and we loved it for its simplicity in its cooking process and all you need is a pressure cooker, so the cooking is fast and quick. By the time the lentils were cooking, I knead the whole wheat flour into a smooth dough. I let them rest for 15 minutes and rolled them and cooked soft rotis for dinner.  Little S loves this too. I fed him with little white rice and yogurt and that was an easy dinner for the three of us.

I store different types of pulses in my pantry. Yellow split peas,yellow pigeon peas (available both as plain or oily) – I use the plain one, red lentils, roasted chick peas, green split peas, kidney/garbanzp/pinto beans. For this preparation, I used the yellow lentils, commonly known as toor dhal in Hindi. Dhaal is described as a dish prepared with dried lentils, peas or beans. They are referred to as pulses in common. It’s a thick stew, predominantly cooked in South Asian households. It can be served with rice or stir fried vegetables or roti. It is a great protein source for vegetarians.


Source: Self


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8-10 curry leaves – chopped (optional) – use it if you have it
  • 1 medium red onion – chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 bunch red chard – chopped
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder – I used spicy Kashmiri chili powder (Add more or less as per your spice level)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 cup yellow pigeon peas/ toor dhal
  • 1 packet Savoury choice vegetable broth concentrate – about 15ml
  • 3 cups water
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt to taste


If using a pressure cooker:

  1. Heat oil in a clean dry cooker base on medium flame. Once hot enough, add the curry leaves and saute for 30 seconds, let the flavour be infused into the oil. Then add the onions and little salt and cook for 5minutes until they turn translucent. Add the garlic and saute for couple of minutes.
  2. Then add the chard and let it wilt, about 3 -5 minutes. Mix to combine. Sprinkle the turmeric, chilli and coriander powder and saute for 2 minutes, until the raw smell disappears.
  3. Add the lentils, vegetable broth concentrate and water and stir to combine well. Cover with the lid, fix the whistle on the top and cook for 6-8 whistles. Once done, switch off the flame and let the pressure settle down. Remove the whistle and open the pan. Mix the contents well and add salt to taste and juice of a lemon. Check for taste, add little more lemon juice if needed.

If using a large cooking vessel

  1. Follow the same steps but instead of using a pressure cooker, the lentil curry gets cooked on medium flame for 45 minutes or more until done. Cook them covered.

Serve hot with white/basmati/brown rice, quinoa or roti/chapati/naan. The lentil curry can also be served as a soup.


  1. Ideal for dieters has the curry has low calories (probably less than 300 for a cup)\
  2. It has enough greens which along with the lentils makes it fiber rich.
  3. Also suitable for those in South beach diet.


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  1. I saw such love fresh red chard the other day and was almost tempted to buy it but then had no idea how to use it. Now I know 🙂

  2. Love your site Vijitha. I've been playing a lot lately with chard making red Swiss chard chips and such but didn't incorporate it with shaal yet. Great idea!!

  3. Hey Vijitha, you have such a lovely space! And I love your photos and styling. Dhal is comfort food, can never say no to this.

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