This recipe is from the head chef at Lifewise Merge Café, Umender. It is always a crowd pleaser at the cafe and can often be found on our Merge Café menu. The recipe is easy, healthy and affordable to make.
  • 1 cup dry brown lentils
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 5 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 10 grams ginger (chopped)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 2 tomato (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • coriander for garnish


Soak the lentils for 30 min in 3 cups of water.

Rinse the lentils. Add 4 cups of water and 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon turmeric, and salt to taste and let it boil until the lentils get soft.

In a medium size saucepan: add rest of oil, cumin seeds, chopped ginger and garlic until golden brown.

Add onion sauté until soft.

Add ground cumin, coriander, chilli flakes, and sauté for 30 seconds.

Then add chopped tomatoes and half a cup of water. Cook for 5 min, and add boiled lentils. Let it simmer for couple of minutes.

Garnish with fresh coriander served with naan, roti bread or rice.

Lifewise Merge Café operates as a social enterprise and has played a crucial role in supporting Auckland’s street whānau and those experiencing homelessness. We break down societal barriers and offer a warm, safe and supportive space where anyone is welcome.