Recipe courtesy of Bal Arneson
Episode: Comfort Food
1 hr
5 min
4 servings
1 hr
5 min
4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala, recipe follows
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 5 cups water
  • Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Few fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish
Garam Masala
  • 1/2 cup coriander seeds
  • 1/2 cup cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried curry leaves* (See Cook's Note)
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 dried red chiles


Watch how to make this recipe.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to get hot. Add the garlic, garam masala, cumin seeds, and turmeric and cook for 20 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the lentils and water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and cook until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Serve in a bowl and garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs.

To make garam masala:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, black peppercorns, mustard seeds, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and chiles on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 15 minutes. 

Transfer the mixture to an electric spice grinder, or use a mortar and pestle and grind by hand. Grind to a fine powder. Store the garam masala in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Cook's Note

Can be found at specialty Asian and Indian markets.

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