Spicy Dhal & Roti

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Dhal and roti are a staple in our house during the winter season. We consume some version of spiced, cooked lentils once a week, especially when the weather turns rainy and cold and we really need a hearty meal to warm up. Dhal is easy comfort food at its finest – and warm roti is the best for getting those last bites of lentils out of the bowl! Plus, lentils are high in protein, and whole wheat flour is a great source of fiber. With a 30-minute cook time and only four main ingredients, this is a perfect dinner to cook on your two-burner stove after a day of cragging, mountain biking, or hitting the slopes.

Lentil dhal in a bowl

If you’ve never made bread before, roti is a great place to start; it’s forgiving, simple, and it mainly serves as a vehicle for shoveling dhal into your mouth. It’s easy to mix in a large bowl, and a Nalgene (or any bottle) will work well for rolling the dough. Note that in very cold temperatures it may take some serious muscle to roll the dough out, but this won’t affect the taste at all. Just put your back into it, and if you can’t get it thinner than a ½ inch, adjust your cooking times a bit.

Dhal cooking in a pot on a camping stove
Making roti

Most of this recipe can be prepped ahead of time, which makes everything come together very quickly. I like to combine the spices into a small spice jar at home, and mix the dry ingredients for the roti into a reusable plastic bag. Note that you can use red or brown lentils in this recipe; brown lentils will retain most of their shape, while red lentils will break down and create a more soup-like meal. The raisins and cashews are totally optional, but add an awesome variety of texture.

Lentil dhal in a bowl with roti

Spicy Dhal and Roti

Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 2 servings
Author: Miranda Webster


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Ingredients

FOR THE ROTI

  • 1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ cup water
  • A small amount of flour for rolling out roti

FOR THE DAAL

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 cup lentils red or brown, rinsed and sorted
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 3 cups of water divided
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup cashews

Spice Mix:

  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic

Instructions

  1. Roti: Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add oil and water, and knead until a soft, pliable dough forms. It shouldn’t be too sticky. Set aside, and let rest while you cook the dhal.
  2. Dhal: Heat oil over medium-high heat in large pot. Add onion, and sauté until translucent. Add spice mix, and cook for another minute, then add the lentils, tomato paste, and 2 ½ cups of water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are tender.

  3. Meanwhile, divide roti dough into four even pieces. Shape into a small flat disk using your hands, then roll out until bread is ¼ in thick. Heat pan or griddle over medium-high heat, until a drop of water sizzles on the surface. Cook bread for 1 ½ minutes on one side, or until lightly browned. Flip, and cook for 45 seconds on the other side.
  4. Once most of the liquid is absorbed in the dhal, uncover and add the last half cup of water. Cook for another five minutes until water is fully absorbed, then stir in raisins and cashews.
  5. Divide between two bowls, and serve with two pieces of roti.


About The Author

Miranda Webster is an east-coast transplant, most recently from bustling NYC. Now free from skyscrapers, she can often be found falling off boulder problems or trouncing through the woods. Miranda resides just outside Seattle, WA with her partner Sky, and their two furry children, and is actively pursuing a more conscious and intentional life. Follow her adventures at mountainattitude.com and @mirandagoesoutside on Instagram.

3 Comments

  1. If you can find Ethiopian berbere spice, substitute that for the spice blend listed here...one of the best things on or off the trail! Looking forward to trying the roti (which will also be good with the berbere).

  2. Looks really good and different! I will pass this along to my vegan daughter too.
    One little nitpick, I think you left out where you add in the lentils in step 2. I assume they re added with the water? Thanks for your unique blog!

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