Persian dal

Persian dal, a vegetarian dish, is easy to make and very tasty. Although it looks a little like Indian dal, the combination of ingredients is quite different. Dal adas originated in the city of Bushehr in the south of Iran, on the Persian Gulf. It is usually served with Persian rice.

Atoosa Sepehr


3 tbsp vegetable or light olive oil
3 large onions, finely chopped
1 large bulb of garlic, cloves separated and crushed
½ tbsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
200g red lentils, rinsed
750ml vegetable stock
1 large potato (about 250g), peeled and chopped into roughly 1cm cubes
30g tomato purée
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
¼–1 tsp chilli powder
Chopped fresh coriander and red chilli to garnish (optional)

1. Add the oil and onions to a large pan on a medium heat and fry for 10–12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to turn golden brown.
2. Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Add the turmeric, cumin and cinnamon and stir for 30 seconds before adding the lentils and mixing well. Add the stock, stir, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Add the potatoes, give it a good stir, put the lid back on and cook for a further 20–25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, stirring every now and then to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
5. Add the tomato purée, lime juice and chilli powder to taste and stir well. Taste and add salt if needed. Cook on a medium heat for a couple of minutes without the lid (if the texture is too thick, add a little boiling water). Scatter over some chopped coriander and chilli, if using, and serve.

Recipe from From a Persian Kitchen – Authentic Recipes & Fabulous Flavours From Iran by Atoosa Sepehr, published by Robinson, £26