April 30, 2020 2 min read

Wasting time on Instagram, I stumbled across Queer Eye's Tan France's recipe for dahl. Like many families, we loaded up on lentils prior to the shutdown. While I often cook lentils, I was excited to see his delicious and simple recipe for dahl. If you are not familiar with dahl, it is a traditional lentil stew that is ubiquitous in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. The lentils are a great source of protein and the spices are super healthy and flavorful. Combined with a healthy dose of fat, this dish is soothing and filling. Comfort food at its best.

When I saw his video, we had all the ingredients handy, but as we were short on butter (and needed to save it for the ever-important quarantine baking) I substituted coconut oil. I've since repeated the recipe with butter and have to say, the coconut oil is better! There's a certain bite to the flavor of coconut oil that adds dimension to the dahl. And while I recommend watching Tan France demonstrate the how-to of this recipe, he doesn't have it written down (and it's annoying to have to scroll through the video to figure out the quantities.) So, I'm helping you out below. Go forth and make dahl!


Tan France's Dahl (vegan version)


  • 3 cups lentils (any kind should work, I've tried red and brown and both were great. If using French lentils, I'd likely combine with another variety as they are a bit more toothsome than other lentils)
  • 7.5 cups water
  • 1.5 tsp coriander/cilantro powder
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder (or less, to taste)
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 1.5 tsp cumin powder
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 4 tsp salt
  • One head of garlic peeled and crushed
  • 4 tbsp of coconut oil (or butter if you must, but coconut is tastier!)
  • Chopped coriander/cilantro as desired

Wash lentils well, until water runs clear. Put lentils and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and add all of the spices. Cover and stir every 7-8 minutes, ensuring that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

While the lentils are cooking, peel and crush your garlic and place in a small pot with the coconut oil. Cook these together until the garlic is golden. 

When lentils are cooked through, if they are still too watery remove the lid of the pot and let some of the water evaporate as it simmers. When you've achieved a nice thick, texture stir in oil and garlic combination to finish. Mix in chopped cilantro to taste. Finish with a little extra cilantro on top when serving.