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Red Lentil Dhal

A dehydrated backpacking recipe for red lentil dhal. This is one of my favourites. Works well as a soup for lunch or serve it along side rice or naan for a substantial dinner.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: lentils, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 4
Calories: 292kcal


  • Food dehydrator


  • 250 grams red lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon panch phoran see notes below
  • 10-20 curry leaves optional
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ginger minced
  • 400 g tinned diced tomatoes
  • pinch of chili flakes optional
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cups chopped spinach optional


At home:

  • Combine the red lentils, water and turmeric in a pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until the dal is tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  • While the dal cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the panch phoran and curry leaves. As soon as the seeds start to pop, add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook until the onion is soft (it should not brown). Add the tomatoes, cooked lentils, chili and salt. Cook for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to bend. Shortly before serving, add the chopped spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted.
  • Spread the dal onto dehydrator trays lined with nonstick sheets or parchment paper. Dehydrate at 63C/145F for 8-10 hours until totally dry. If you'd like, put the dehydrated dal in a food processor and pulse a few times to break it up into a finer powder. Vac pac or store in baggies until ready to use.

At camp:

  • Put the dehydrated dal into a pot and cover with water.
  • Place pot over medium heat and bring to a boil.
  • Turn down the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3-10 minutes, until fully rehydrated (it will take less time to rehydrate if you've pulsed up the dal before hand).
  • Serve with basmati rice and/or naan bread if you'd like. To really pimp your meal, bring along a little chutney, pickle, and yoghurt to garnish!


292 Calories | 5g Fat | 47g Carbs | 18g Protein
To make your own panch phoran, combine in a jar equal parts of fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, onion seed, fennel seeds and cumin seeds. Mix well and you're ready to go!