I. Love. Indian. Food. Indian food for dinner? Yes. Quick takeout order for a weekday lunch–and it comes with Indian Lentil Soup? Most certainly. There’s an Indian lunch buffet around the corner, and it has a cheesy banner advertising 21 items? Uh, hyeck YEAH!

If any of you are fellow Indian food lovers, you’ll know that the stuff doesn’t come cheap. With an order of lamb vindaloo running up to $15-$20 per order (and that’s not even including the naan, and 2 or 3 other curries you’d need to round out a meal for a group), it’s not the most economical of foods to ardently love and crave on a predictably regular basis.

This brings us to the subject of today’s post, the humble—and extremely cheap—lentil. Specifically, as it is applied in Indian lentil soup or Dal Shorva. Dal shorva done right, in my opinion, is slightly thick, bright yellow with plenty of turmeric, heavily spiced with cumin, garam masala, mustard seeds, chili, and coriander, and really really garlicky.

Served with warm garlic naan, is there anything better to easily and cheaply satisfy one’s Indian cravings? I should think not. After scouring the internet for a recipe, I did some combining here and there and tweaking to come up with this, which is a pretty awesome approximation of some deliciously awesome lentil soup I had at an Indian restaurant in New York City.

This Indian Lentil Soup is deliciously spicy, garlicky, warm, and comforting. It’s packed with flavor, and I even devised a no-brainer way to dress up store bought naan that makes it even better.


For the soup, you’ll need:

  • 3 cups petite yellow or red lentils (or a mixture of the two)
  • 5-6 cups water (can add more for desired consistency)
  • 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 3 curry leaves
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 jalapenos, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ cup tomato puree
  • 2 teaspoons salt

For the quick garlic naan, you’ll need:

  • Store-bought naan
  • Softened butter
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro


  1. Rinse the lentils thoroughly (sometimes there will be small dirt clods or particles) and drain. Add the lentils, water, chicken stock, and curry leaves to a large pot. Let boil for 20 min.
  2. While that’s happening, prepare the onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapenos. Grab your mustard and coriander seeds and grind coarsely in a mortar and pestle.
  3. After the 20 minutes has gone by, heat the oil and butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the ground mustard and coriander seeds. Let fry gently for a minute or so. Next, add the ginger and let fry gently.

You can find complete recipes of this INDIAN LENTIL SOUP in

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