Malaysian dhal soup

The weather is definitely changing now in London. The autumn leaves are starting to pop out and there is rain…..lots of it.

You may have seen in a previous post of mine about the concept of healthyish, that is, trying to be healthy most of the time, but you can indulge sometimes (as frankly life is too short to be super good 100% of the time).  I’m hoping this recipe combines a bit of healthy and not so healthy – as I’ve tried to make the dhal a healthy soup and I have added barley for some wholegrain goodness (but it’s not so healthy if you eat it with Malaysian roti canai bread).

Living a busy corporate life in London also makes it hard for theveggie and I to cook something up quickly during the weeknights that is vegetarian friendly and filling. This soup freezes beautifully, so suggest you double the portion and freeze and also keep some bread rolls in the freezer. That way, you will not have an excuse to spend yet another £20 on deliveroo for two out of sheer exhaustion.

Serves 4
Time to cook: About 45 minutes


2 medium sized carrots diced
1/2 a celery diced
3/4 cup red lentils
1/2 cup barley
1/2 tsp cumin power
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 an onion diced
5-6 curry leaves (I’ve used dried curry leaves from the supermarket, fresh leaves are of course better)
1 large tomato chopped into quarters or 6-8 cherry tomatoes
1 vegetable or chicken stock cube
800ml – 1 litre of water
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt to taste (depending how salty your stock cube is)
Coriander to garnish
Bread to serve – healthier option is a wholemeal bread roll, frozen roti canai the more ‘Malaysian style’

Snapshot of the ingredients needed


  1. Add 1/2 cup of your washed barley to 3 cups of water and let it boil on a medium heat for 30 minutes, then rinse in cold water and leave aside. (This can be done earlier in the day or the day before).
  2. Whilst the barley is cooking, dice the onion, carrot and celery. Set aside.
  3. Add your stock cube to 500ml of boiled water and leave aside.
  4. Add the oil to your soup pot, then add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Cook for a minute until the mustard seeds start to ‘pop’.
  5. Add onions and brown until semi soft.
  6. Add the carrot and celery and stir for about 3-4 minutes. If the consistency seems a bit dry and your pot is getting too brown, add a bit of the stock to braise the vegetables.
  7. Add your tomatoes and stir for another 1-2 minutes.
  8. Add the dhal with the 500ml of stock and simmer for 15 minutes on a medium heat.
  9. After 15 minutes is up, add the barley that you have cooked earlier as well as an additional 300ml of water. If you prefer a more watery soup, you can add 500ml at this point.
  10. Simmer for another 20-25 minutes on a low to medium heat.
  11. Serve up, garnish with coriander and enjoy with your bread of choice.


    • yukypoo81
      25th June 2019 / 10:47 pm

      That’s great Stefan 🙂

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