Make Ahead

Lentil Barley Dal

April 11, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Serves many
Author Notes

I love curries and dals of all types and frequently make a large pot on Sunday to provide myself (and sometimes family members) with lunch for the rest of the week. This is a very forgiving and flexible recipe and I use whatever other vegetables are in my pantry. Sometimes I substitute shallots for the onion or a carrot for the red pepper. Depending on the herbs in my refrigerator I add a large handful or a few handfuls of spinach or other dark leafy greens at the end. I ended up throwing in about 1/3 cup of pearled barley because I found it in my cabinet. It thickened up the dal nicely. —testkitchenette

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound bag of lentils, washed and picked over
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder, toasted in a small pan over low heat
  • 1 pinch yellow mustard seeds, toasted with curry powder in a small pan over low heat
  • 1/2 cup salsa (1 28oz. can tomatoes whizzed in blender with 1 bunch cilantro with salt to taste and juice of 1 lime)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup pearled barley
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a large pot combine the lentils and water and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes. In a dry frying pan over low heat, toast the curry powder and mustard seeds until fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.
  2. In the frying pan that the spices were toasted in, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat and saute the onions, garlic, and ginger until onions are translucent. Add the red pepper and cook for about another 10 minutes. Add the curry powder and mustard seeds to the vegetables and cook for a few minutes. Add in the salsa and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer while the lentils are cooking.
  3. Add the vegetables and coconut milk mixture to the lentils. Pour in the pearled barley and bring to a boil again. Add the salt and pepper. Knock the heat back to low and cook for about 20 minutes.
  4. If adding spinach/greens/herbs add them before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • MissWinterfinch
  • AntoniaJames
  • testkitchenette

3 Reviews

MissWinterfinch December 26, 2010
How much barley?
testkitchenette December 26, 2010
About 1/3 cup...sorry about that! Thanks for bringing it to my attention that I forgot to add it in my recipe!
AntoniaJames October 9, 2010
This looks really good. I don't care much for the taste of yellow split peas (not sure why, as I like the green ones), but I bet I could easily substitute red lentils, reducing the cooking time, and it would work out great. I'm always on the lookout for vegetarian "main dish" soups. I'm definitely trying this one!! ;o)