South African / Durban Indian Curry

Dhal ghos or dal gos is savoury lamb dish simmered in a split pea soup-like gravy. There are several variations to the dhal ghos recipe among the different linguistic groups in the South African Indian community. However, the general consensus is that the gravy must be moderately spicy and sufficiently hot to harness the flavour of the both the meat and lentils.


750g Lamb, cleaned, washed and cut into cubes
¾ Cup of split pea dhal (sometimes referred to as yellow dhal)
1 Onion( ½ grated, ½ finely sliced)
1 Tomato (grated)
2 Sprigs each of curry leaf, thyme and spring onion
1½ Heaped teaspoon of mixed masala
2 Slit green chilli
3 Mint leaves
1 Teaspoon of chilli powder
½ A teaspoon of coriander(dhania) and cumin(jeera) powder
¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder
A pinch each of cumin(jeera), mustard and fennel(soomph) seeds
1 Teaspoon of ginger and garlic paste
Salt to taste
1Tablespoon of cumin seeds(dry fried in a pan and finely ground)
2 Litres of water
1 Aniseed
1Bay leaf
1Black cardamom(elachi)
1Stick of cinnamon
Freshly chopped coriander(dhania)


  1. Heat oil in a pot and stir in ½ a sliced onion, a sprig each of thyme, spring onion and curry leaf, aniseed, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, 1 chilli, cumin, 2 mint leaves, fennel and mustard seeds.
  2. Simmer the mixture until the onions start to turn a pale brown. The masala, turmeric, chilli, cumin and coriander powders can be added in.
  3. Allow to simmer for a few seconds before adding in the ginger and garlic paste.
  4. Stir in the meat ensuring that it is well coated with the masala mixture. At this stage the salt can be added.
  5. Allow the mixture to simmer until the meat has fried out leaving an infused gravy of masala and oil.
  6. Add in the lentils, tomato, thyme, spring onions, curry leaves, green chilli and mint leaves. Allow to fry for a few seconds.
  7. Stir in the water and reduce the heat (setting number 2 on your electric stove).
  8. Cook for approximately 2 hours or until the lentils have broken down to form a smooth, creamy texture(similar to a thick soup).
  9. Pan fry cumin seeds(jeera) for a few seconds until its distinctive aroma is released. Remove the seeds from the heat and grind it to form a powder.
  10. Garnish the dhal ghos with the cumin powder and fresh coriander. Simmer for a few seconds and remove from heat.

Serve hot with bread, roti or rice.