Dhal is a filling, warming stew made from lentils. Originating on the Indian subcontinent, the many kinds of dhal (also spelled 'dahl' or 'dal') have around 25 per cent protein by weight, which is comparable to meat.
For this recipe, any kind will do, for example brown or French ('puy') lentils, but it's best with red lentils, as they're quick and dissolve into a porridge easily.
Don't be put off by the list of spices; guessing quantities won't change it much. Some chilli flakes or cayenne will give this more kick. Taste as you go and remember, you can always add more spices but you can't remove them once they're in the pot.