Carrot-Cardamom Dal (Gajjar Elaichi Dal)


2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, freshly ground in a spice grinder (or 2 tsp pre-ground coriander powder)
1 tsp cardamom seeds from green or white pods, freshly ground in a spice grinder (or 2 tsp pre-ground cardamom powder)
1-2 hot chiles (fresh or dried), or 1/2 tsp cayenne powder (or to taste)
1 cup fresh carrot juice
1.5 cup water (and more as needed)
1 cup red or pink lentils
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
Yogurt, for serving (optional)


Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and carrot. Saute for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables soften.

Add the turmeric, cardamom, and coriander powders, and the dried chilis or cayenne powder, if you are using them, and saute 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Stir constantly so the spices don't burn.

Add the carrot juice, water, lentils, salt, and fresh chiles (if you are using them), bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over very low heat until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes.  Check the lentils every 5 minutes or so, stirring, and add more water as needed to keep the mixture from sticking or drying out. You don't want the dal to be soupy, but it should be moist.

Serve with yoghurt.


- If possible, I strongly recommend grinding your own coriander and cardamom seeds, instead of using pre-ground spices.

- The original recipe suggested using 2 tablespoons fresh diced turmeric root instead of the turmeric powder. I've not tried this, but it sounds good.

- This recipe is an adaptation of Eric Gower's "Carroty Cardamom Dal," published in the San Francisco Chronicle on October 3, 2010. Available at (last accessed October 5, 2010).

Page last updated: October 5, 2010