Dal Adas – How to make Persian lentil Stew

Red lentils stew is one of the delicious dishes that prepares quickly. In Iran, it is called “Dal Adas”. They usually serve Dal Adas with rice and use Omani lemon in this dish to give it a little sour taste. Persian red lentil stew is very tasty and thick; Because they use a potato and tomato paste to make the lentil soup thicker.

Like other legumes, red lentils are high in nutrients and have a lot of benefits. This dish has a high nutritional value and is considered as a complete meal. Red lentils are smaller than lentils and they have an orange-ish color. They are high in protein so they can be a good alternative for animal protein. It’s said that this valuable food is effective in reducing the complications of osteoarthritis.

Even though red lentils are a kind of legumes, they have a big difference from the other legumes and that’s that they cook quickly. That makes this food to be a smart and of course healthy decision for the days you don’t have much time to prepare a meal.

Since I don’t like watery foods, I cook red lentils in a way to make them thick and glazed. To do this, I use a medium sized potato and wait for the food to settle. I will share some other tips for cooking red lentils in this recipe. Cooking red lentils with rice this way is common in Iran, rice is cooked separately and served with red lentils. I suggest you try it.

Ingredients you need for Persian lentil stew:

Essential ingredients you need for this recipe:

  • Red lentils
  • Dried lime (Omani Lime)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tomato paste
  • Potato
  • Salt, spices, and pepper
  • Rice (cooked separately)

Red lentils and rice ingredients

Persian Red lentils and rice

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: iran
Servings: 4 people
Author: Alorecipes


  • 3 cup Rice for 4 people
  • 1 cup Red lentils
  • 1 Dried lime
  • 1 Onion medium
  • 3 Garlic cloves large - or 6 small cloves
  • 2 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1 Potato medium - optional
  • 4 tbsp Oil
  • Turmeric, pepper, salt


  • Cook the rice separately: Soak the rice for about an hour. Then put apot of water on heat to bring it to a boil. Pour the rice into the pot and wait for about 5 to 10 minutes for it to get half cooked (Al dente). Then pour therice into a colander. Pour about 3 tablespoons of oil into the pot and pour the rice in. Then put the lid on and let the rice cook for about 30 to 60 minutes on low heat.
    Cook the rice separately
  • Put the red lentils on the heat: Clean the red lentils and wash them with water. Then put them on heat with some water. The water should be about twice the volume of the red lentils and rise above the lentils. I poured 4 cups of water. If some foam took place on the surface, collect them with a spoon.
  • Add potato and dried lime: Cut the skin off the potato and then cut it in half. Put it in the pot to let it cook with the lentils. Add the dried lime too. If your pot is small, don’t put on the lid, because red lentils will boil over and pour out fast.
    put lentils potatos and dried lemon on heat
  • Prepare the other ingredients in another bowl: Chop the onion in small pieces and fry with a little oil. After the onions got golden, add garlic (chopped, mashed or grated). There’s no need for the garlic to get completely fried. Add turmeric and pepper. Add the tomato paste too and fry a little and then turn off the heat.
    Prepare onion garlic and tomato paste
  • Add the mixture of tomato paste, onion and garlic to the lentils that are cooking.
    Add the mixture of tomato paste, onion and garlic
  • Take out the potato and mash it: After about 30 minutes when the potato got cooked, take it out and mash it well with the back of a fork. Then put it back in the pot. Let them cook together to make the food thick and glazed.
    mashed potatoes
  • Add salt.
  • Test the lentils: after about 30 to 60 minutes the red lentil stew is ready. Taste it, if lentils are cooked, turn off the heat.
  • Serve the Persian red lentils with rice.
    serve Persian lentil stew with rice


-If you like to make a delicious and mouthwatering tahdig too, you just have to add 3 tablespoons of oil after pouring the rice in a colander. Then cut a piece of bread in the size of the bottom of the pot and put it in the bottom. Fry the bread for a bit. Then pour the rice into the pot on top of the bread to let it cook. After cooking the rice, your delicious tahdig is ready. If you want to know all the tips about making tahdig, I suggest you read the Bread tahdig recipe post.
Red lentils with iranian rice bread tahdig
-The garlic can be chopped in small pieces, mashed or grated.
- When you put the red lentils on the stove, they will get twice as big and the water might lessen. So add water if you need to. The consistency of the food depends on your taste.
-The use of potato in this recipe is for the food to get thick and not watery. If you don’t have access to any potatoes, you can use one of the following ingredients:
  • Fry a tablespoon of wheat flour with garlic and onion to thicken your food.
  • Chop the onions into very small pieces and slightly press them with your fingertips to spread the aroma. This way, your food will have more flavor and consistency.
- The potato is only for thickening the lentil water, don’t add them if you don’t want to.
- Don’t forget an important note on adding the mashed potato into red lentils: other than thickening your food, mashed potato will also change the color. It means the food has a good red color with tomato paste, but after adding the potato it will get a little orange. Some believe that potatoes ruin the color of red lentil stew. I disagree!
- Cut a couple of small holes with the tip of a knife or a fork in the Omani limes and then add them to the pot so they will add more taste to the food. If you don’t put holes in them, you might not even taste them in your food.
- Dried limes give a good sour taste to the food and I think that’s enough. But if you like your food to be more sour, you can add a tablespoon of lemon juice to your food in the last step of cooking. Turn the heat off after 1 minute.
- Instead of dried limes, you can use tamarind. Soak 3 tablespoons of tamarind in a half a glass of warm water. Let them soak for about half an hour and then pass them through a strainer. Throw the pulp away and put the ingredients that passed through the strainer in the red lentils. Be aware that if you use both dried lime and tamarind, your food may become too sour.
- If you make the red lentils saltier and spicier than usual, it’ll be more delicious; but be aware that salty or spicy foods are very harmful to some diseased people.
- Red lentils don’t need soaking like chickpeas and they cook quickly. In cooking chickpeas stovetop post, I explained that chickpeas have to soak for about 4 to 12 hours before cooking, but red lentils cook very fast in about 30 minutes. Therefore, red lentils are a good choice for the days that you don’t have much time for cooking.
- This way of cooking red lentils is common in Iran. Red lentils and rice are cooked separately and served together.
- You can use red or yellow lentils.
Over all, red lentils are served in the following ways:
  • Red lentils with rice
  • With bread
  • As a red lentil soup
  • As a snack
  • As an appetizer

In the end I must say…

This Iranian recipe is one of the best recipes in the world for making red lentil stew, which is called Dal Adas. This dish has a slightly sour taste and if you flavor it with spices, it is a good meal.

For a housewife who always has to think about preparing food for children and other family members, red lentils and rice are one of the easiest foods to prepare. I think children will love this food if you make it this way, because we added a little sourness to it with lemons, gave it a good color with tomato paste and made it thick and glazed by adding a potato.

If you tried this recipe, tell me what you think about it!

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