Indian Lentils

In India, lentils and rice are everyday foods for millions of people. Lentils are inexpensive, nutritious, and can be prepared in a a multitude of ways. Enjoy these flavorful lentils with carrot rice pilaf, chapatis, and a mango fruit salad.

Serves 4 to 6


  • 1 cup lentils, sorted & rinsed
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seed or ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground red chile
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Bring the water and lentils to a boil over high heat. Skim off the foam that appears. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add water as needed to keep the lentils covered as they cook.
  2. In another saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cumin and sauté until fragrant, but not brown. Add the chile and coriander and stir for 20 seconds more.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, and lentils, along with the juice. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer 5 to 10 minutes, uncovered. Remove from the heat and cover.
  4. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro. Traditionally, lentils are spooned over rice and served in bowls.

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