Put the onion, garlic, chilli, carrot and eggplant into a flameproof casserole dish or large saucepan and stir in the oil and water. Heat until it starts to sizzle, then cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes until softened.
Uncover and stir in the spices. Cook for 1 minute, then stir in the lentils and stock. Bring to the boil, then add the zucchini and tomato.
Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes, then uncover for a further 5 minutes, by which time the lentils should have burst open and thickened the liquid. Serve garnished with roughly chopped fresh coriander.
Made this for a recent family gathering. Wanted them to know that vegetarian food can be delicious and inexpensive. It was a hit. Making it again this week. Best ever dhal I've made. Didn't have eggplant $10kg - so put in zucchini instead. - 12 Aug 2015