Paleo Khatti Daal – Sour Spiced Lentils


A few weeks ago I had a serious hankering for some traditional Indian homestyle cooking. That’s bad news for me. Ever since I cut legumes out of my diet I’ve noticed a big difference when I occasionally have it. I won’t go into the specifics but it usually has me feeling pretty horrible the next day.

Lentils and I don’t get along anymore which is a travesty because I love daal. I’ve been known to drink it out of a mug instead of as an accompaniment. Oh – I think I found my problem.

Anyhow, my initial thoughts for this craving were: hmmm I just have to think of something that’s orange to replace it with. That’ll fool me! And it did.

So here it is, paleo daal in all its glory, served with riced cauliflower and thalawa gosht. The daal I made may differ from what you commonly find at restaurants – here I’ve made khatti daal which is pretty much a sour spiced daal from Hyderabad, India. However, with some tweaking of the spices it’s sure to taste like other more commonly known daals like sambar and tadka daal.

Paleo Khatti Daal (Sour Spiced “Lentils”)
Serves 4


  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch coins
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼-inch piece ginger, roughly chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon Indian chilli powder
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Kosher salt

For tempering:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced

In a medium sized saucepan add the carrots, water, garlic, ginger, chilli and turmeric powder. Set it to high heat and cook covered for 10 minutes until the carrots are tender.


Take the saucepan off the heat and blend the carrots with an immersion blender until puréed.


Return the pot to high heat, adding in the chopped tomato, lemon juice and salt and cook covered for 5 minutes. Add more water if you want a thinner consistency.


In the meantime, you can prepare the temper. Heat a small pan with ghee on medium heat. When the ghee is shimmering add the dried chillies, curry leaves, 2 garlic cloves and cumin seeds.


Mix the spices lightly until the garlic is lightly browned and the cumin seeds are dark brown, almost at the verge of burning. Quickly pour the tempered ghee and spices into the pot of “daal“.


Transfer the daal into a serving dish and top with cilantro leaves. But seriously, a lot of it. I promptly dumped more cilantro on after this shot.



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