Yellow Lentils / पीली दाल

A Nourishing and Filling Dish
Formula from the Yak and Yeti

How to cook delicious and healthy Asian dishes using tomatoes


Nepalese dish of the Indian persuasion.  It came from a hostess in Kathmandu, so it can be called Nepalese, but like many dishes of that country, has close affinities with similar dishes in Indian cooking.

The recipe is adapted from Mrs. Ratna Sarat, who was running the Yak and Yeti Hotel in Kathmandu for many years and who designed many of the recipes served in the hotel’s Chimney Restaurant.

This dish would go well with others like Sag Paneer and Paneer.

The recipe is a little complex, but the result is quite savory.  This recipe makes enough for about 10 servings and takes about a quarter hour to prepare; cooking time is about 1 hour and 20 minutes.


Yellow Lentils / पीली दाल



2 cups Yellow Lentils
2 teaspoons Salt
6 cups Water
1 pound fresh Spinach, or 1 10-oounce package of the frozen, chopped variety, if you are using frozen
2 large Tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
3 medium Carrots, sliced in thin disks
½ pound cabbabge, chopped
3 tablespoons Ghee or Vegetable Oil
½ teaspoons Cumin Seeds
2 medium Onions, coarsely chopped
3 Cloves
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
3 – 4 tablespoons chopped fresh Coriander leaves (Cilantro)


First make sure all the peeling and chopping is out of the way.

IIf you are using fresh Spinach, wash it and remove the stems and then cut into small pieces.  Frozen Spinach can be added directly from the package.

Begin the actual cooking by heating the Lentils, 1 teaspoon Salt and Water to boil in a large saucepan.  Cover and simmer gently, until about half cooked, 20 to 30 minutes.

Next add the Spinach, Tomatoes, Carrots, Cabbage and remaining Salt to the Lentlls.  Simmer covered, another 30 to 40 minutes, until the Lentlls and Vegetables are tender.  Check occasionally, as every stove heats differently.

Shortly before serving, heat the Ghee or Vegetable Oil in a wok or heavy skillet over medium high heat until just beginning to smoke.  Add the Cumin Seeds and cook about a minute until they brown.  Immediately add the Onions and Cloves. Fry, stirring constantly at this heat until the Onions brown and then set aside.

Just before serving, check the consistency and taste of the Lentils. They should hold their shape and this dish should be thin like a soup.  Add the Onion mixture, Garam Masala, Onion Juice and chopped Coriander Leaves and heat briefly until just thoroughly hot and then serve immediately.

Lentils are usually eaten with Rice. A good choice would be a Rice like Basmati colored yellow with Turmeric and dotted with Raisins and Nuts.  It could be paired with several vegetable dishes such as Sag Paneer and Salad as well as Nepalese or Indian breads..


Entrnace to Yak & Yeti Bar, Kathmandu, 1960s

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  1. Pingback: Cuisine of Nepal and Himalayan region | Pacific Rim Gourmet

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