I have some decent chicken stock that needs using and I am making a takka dhal tonight. I preboil my lentils, and was wondering if I boiled them in the chicken stock, whether or not they would soak up the flavour at all? Or would it just be a waste?

Advice would be welcome!


3 Answers 3


Yes, they will take up some of the flavor of the stock. However:

1) the flavor will be subtle and hard to detect, especially if you are spicing the dal heavily (as you usually do with Indian food)

2) it's not that authentic, since Indian food is often vegetarian.

Personally, I'd freeze the chicken stock and use it for something else. Or make Turkish lentil soup, which does call for a stock base.

  • 2
    There is plenty of Indian food that is not vegetarian. I don't think #2 is a good motivator. Of course Turkish lentil soup is always a good idea. Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 16:56
  • Chicken stock still isn't that authentic, in my experience. Even in non-vegetarian Punjabi cuisine I haven't seen chicken stock used for dal. My experience of the subcontinent it limited to Bangalore and Nepal, though, so maybe the Punjabi food I've had wasn't that authentic.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 5:50
  • 1
    Unless it's a hard requirement, lack of authenticity is never a good enough reason to pass on something that might taste good. ;-) Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 21:09
  • I have a friend from a south american country that laughs at the value we place on authenticity. She likes to say if you want food from her origin authentically, then have beans and a tortilla with nothing else. Personally, she expresses a great like for sour cream, tomatoes, cheese and other non authentic extras Commented May 7, 2014 at 21:09

Lentils cook fast and so don't require preboiling. The dal recipes that I have used cook the lentils in the liquid until it is absorbed.

I would recommend using a recipe that cooks the lentils in the stock directly to include all of the flavor.

If you insist on preboiling then I would agree with others that you should use the stock for something else.


It wouldn't make a massive difference to the taste - most of the flavour will come from the spices and things you add to the dhal - and the salt in the stock could prevent the lentils from softening as you cook them, leaving them a little tough.

  • I dont think salt will stop the lentils from softening at all, quite the contary in fact
    – NBenatar
    Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 8:44
  • 1
    First, stock should not be salted (although commercial ones can be). Second, I have heard of the myth about beans not softening in salted water, somebody probably extended it to other pulses. In fact, they do soften, and they cook better when salted. See for example the chilli article in the Food lab, which cooked salted and unsalted beans side-by-side.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 9:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.