Mixed grain dhal recipe

The Blue Ducks' mixed-grain dhal is a convenient and healthy mid-week dinner recipe.
The Blue Ducks' mixed-grain dhal is a convenient and healthy mid-week dinner recipe. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Dhal is simple to make and tastes even better the day after, so it makes a convenient, healthy, quick-reheat dinner for busy schedules. This version also contains a good variety of gluten-free grains, and the spice factor is medium so it's pretty approachable. We like to make the spice blend in bulk as it can be used in lots of dishes. You can use vegetable or chicken stock.


Spice mix

1 tsp ginger powder
2 tbsp chilli flakes
1 bay leaf
3 cloves
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp caraway seeds
3 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon quill
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek
2 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp peppercorns
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 handful curry leaves


3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 brown onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup yellow split peas
1/2 cup green split peas
1/2 cup buckwheat
2 tbsp amaranth*
1.5 – 2L vegetable or chicken stock
250g frozen peas
200ml yoghurt
1/2 bunch mint
1 lemon

* If you can't find amaranth at your supermarket or local health food store, you can leave it out. 


1. In a heavy frying pan, roast all the spices for three to five minutes, then take off the heat and crush with a mortar and pestle or blend in a high-powered food processor.

2. In the same pan on a high heat, add the oil and fry the onions and garlic until soft. Add three heaped tablespoons of spice mix and cook for another three to four minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Add the quinoa, split peas, buckwheat and amaranth and stir for a few minutes. Then start adding the stock gradually, stirring, until the grains are covered and the stock is simmering. Keep adding stock as the dhal absorbs it, and keep stirring, like making risotto, for about 15-20 minutes until the grains have softened, but still have a little bite.

4. Pour hot water over the peas to defrost them then drain well. Season the dhal with salt, add half the peas and half the yoghurt and stir through. To serve, spoon the dhal into bowls, drizzle over the remaining yoghurt, top with peas and mint leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Tip: For added protein, mix some roast chicken through the dhal.

Serve with the Blue Ducks' garlic naan bread