South Indian Dhal Slow cooker recipe

As it goes into the slow cooker. So simple!

Note: This recipe is taken from The Indian Slow Cooker, but as written, it makes a LOT (11 freaking cups!!). So, I started an allrecipes profile in the hopes that the ‘change servings’ option will be useful to people not intending to feed an army. It turns out that recipes on there require editorial review before that feature is available, so I’m double publishing. 

Pink lentils, spices and curry leaves give this simple dish an amazing flavour. The prep time assumes you have your spices somewhere that is not at the top back of that unreachable shelf in the kitchen. Otherwise, this recipe is pretty much a dump-and-run, except for chopping the tomatoes and onions. The amount of salt might seem crazy, but remember that the lentils will expand and make a lot of dhal, so you will miss it if you add less at the beginning. This dish goes great with some fried poppadoms and mango chutney.

Makes: 11 cups 

Cooking time: 6 hours on low, or 3.5 on high


  • 3 cups dried pink lentils (masoor dhal), rinsed
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped coarsely
  • 2 medium tomatoes. chopped fine.
  • 2 green chillies. finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 9 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely shopped
  • 15 dried curry leaves
  • 1 can (414 ml) coconut milk


1 . put lentils, coarsely chopped onion, tomatoes, green chilies, cumin coriander,turmeric, salt, and water in the slow cooker.

  1. cook on low for 5 1/2 hours or on high for 3 hours.

  2. heat the oil on medium-high (I use notch 8 on my stove) in a frying pan. Add mustard seeds and cumin and wait for the mustard seeds to start popping. Add the finely chopped onion and then the curry leaves and keep stirring to avoid the curry leaves getting burnt. When leaves are brownish, add everything (including the oil!) to the slow cooker. This process is called “tempering”.

  3. Add coconut milk, stir and cook for another 30 minutes. By now you’ll see that the amount of water in the recipe wasn’t crazy. At this point, you can start the rice if you’ll be using the good old boiling method. I just use my pressure cooker so it’s done in 5 minutes, because I have important shiznit to do.

  4. Serve over basmati rice and enjoy! I like to fry up some poppadoms and serve alongside some mango chutney.


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