Red Lentil Dal with buttermilk flatbread

May 4, 2020 Published by Dina

Dal and rice go so well together so now and then I have to make it. It does need something fresh so a smashed cucumber salad and sliced tomatoes are a nice side along with sort of raita.

I had whole red lentils this time so this is what I used but I have made it with split red lentils and it works just as well. The flatbread is made with buttermilk instead of the usual yogurt because that’s what I had in the fridge and it adds the same tang that yogurt does.

You will find below the recipe for the dal, flatbread and smashed cucumber. To make the raita mix yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, chives and a bit of coriander and cumin of you want. Combine and refrigerate until ready to use.

Red Lentil dal with buttermilk flatbread

Recipe by Dina Honke


Prep time


Cooking time




  • Spice mixture
  • 3 tablespoons oil

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 small hot pepper or a pinch hot pepper flakes

  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced

  • 1 onion, halved and sliced vertically

  • Lentil mixture
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils, whole

  • 4 cups water

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (or more)

  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped and seeds removed

  • Salt to taste

  • Hot pepper to taste


  • Spice-onion-tomatoes
  • heat oil in a 2 quart capacity pot, add the spices and cook over low heat until fragrant. Be careful not to burn.
  • Add the onion and cook until it begins to turn golden.
  • Add the lentils and tomatoes and stir to coat with the oil.
  • Add 4 cup water and bring to a boil
  • Skim any foam that forms on the surface.
  • Add the turmeric and salt, lower heat and cook until lentils are cooked and the mixture is creamy. Watch the water level and add if needed, or cook longer if need to reduce.
  • When the lentils are cooked taste and correct the seasoning, adding more salt or spice as needed.
  • Serving
  • Serve with brown rice, raita, smashed cucumbers, sliced tomatoes and flatbread.

Buttermilk flatbread

  • 2 cups “00” flour or AP flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 cup buttermilk or as needed to make a soft dough

  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt

  • Combine ingredients, knead until smooth and let rest 30 minutes. the dough will get smoother as it sits.

  • Cut into 8 pieces and roll into rounds with a rolling pin.

  • Cook one at a time in a dry cast iron skillet until golden turning once. Press them down to create contact with the hot pan if they puff too much.

  • Brush with oil on one side (optional) and sprinkle salt when they are done.

Smashed cucumbers

  • 1 English cucumber or a few small cucs

  • Salt

  • 1-2 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • Hot pepper flakes

  • Cilantro or parsley

  • Cut the cucs on the diagonal rotating the cuc as you cut each slice.

  • Smash them with something hard, potato masher or similar.

  • Sprinkle with salt, hot pepper flakes and vinegar.

  • Let marinate for 30 minutes.

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