Recreate Chetan's langarwali dhal, then check out our tarka dhal, coconut dhal with crispy paneer and more dhal recipes.

Chetan writes: “Langar is food served, for free, to any travellers or worshipers who visit a Sikh temple. The name langarwali dhal – literally any dhal served in the langar dining room – has come to mean a hearty dark brown dhal that is slightly lighter in flavour than the more well-known dhal makhani so often seen in north Indian restaurants. For the best dhal I always recommend soaking the lentils overnight before cooking, I find they take up more flavour when being cooked the next day.”

Chetan Sharma is chef-patron of BiBi, a contemporary Indian restaurant which won opening of the year at the 2022 National Restaurant Awards. Follow him on Instagram @chetsharmaox.


  • 190g sabut urad dhal (whole black dhal)
  • 65g chana dhal (split chickpea dhal)
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp deggi mirch (red chilli powder)
  • 3 piece of ginger chopped
  • 2 Indian bay leaves or bay leaves

Tempered oil

  • 1 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, coarsely ground
  • 3 piece of ginger, finely grated
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp deggi mirch (red chilli powder)
  • 100ml natural yogurt, whisked (optional)
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp butter (optional)


  • STEP 1

    Wash and soak the sabut urad dhal and chana dhal overnight. The next day, put the drained lentils along with the turmeric, deggi mirch, ginger and bay in a pressure cooker, if you have one, with 1.2 litres of water. Seal on high and cook for 30 mins or until the lentils are fully cooked and starting to break down. If cooking without a pressure cooker, cook on a low simmer for 2 hrs, adding more water if it gets a little dry.

  • STEP 2

    For the tempered oil, put the ghee in a frying pan over a high heat until it just begins to smoke. Add the cumin and garlic, cooking for 1 min until the garlic turns light golden, then quickly add the onions. Reduce the heat to medium and sweat the onions until they are translucent and just starting to take on some colour. Add the coriander seeds, ginger, turmeric and chilli powder. Cook until the fat starts to separate from the ingredients. Stir through the yogurt, if using, and coriander.

  • STEP 3

    Add the lentils to the tempering mixture, reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 20-30 mins, whisking from time to time to help the lentils break down and become creamy. Adjust the seasoning as required.

  • STEP 4

    Serve in a large bowl, garnished with the coriander and butter, if you like.

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