September 6, 2009

Coconut Dhal

Dhal has to be one of my all time favorite Indian dishes. It is impossible for me not to order this popular dish when dining at an Indian restaurant.

Dhal can be eaten as a main dish served with rice or naan bread. It also makes a wonderful accompaniment to a wide variety of other Indian dishes, especially dryer dishes such as biryiani or pilaf.

Dhal is always a popular addition to my Indian feasts. Not only is it delicious and easy to make, it is also incredibly nutritious. Lentils are a great source of inexpensive protein and are high in soluble fiber and iron.

This recipe is a particular favorite as the addition of coconut milk makes an interesting digression from the more traditional versions of dhal.

The variety of spices added to dhal at the end of cooking is commonly known as "Tarka" or "Tadka." A variety of ingredients such as fresh or dried chilis, onions, garlic, cumin or mustard seeds are fried in a small amount of oil or ghee and then added to the dhal before serving to impart flavour.

Any leftover dhal is great for lunch the next day spread on pita bread topped with a tomato, cucumber and onion salad. Yum!

Makes 4 Servings

Dhal :
250g red lentils
400ml coconut milk ( light is fine)
300ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp tumeric
1tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

Put all the above ingredients in a pan. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, stirring every now and then.

1 onion sliced
1 garlic clove sliced
Handful of fresh coriander (cilantro)
2 tsp black mustard seeds (optional)
3-4 tbls olive oil

Fry onion and garlic in oil until nice and crisp. Add the coriander and mustard seeds and cook for a further 30 seconds or so. Pour mixture over the lentils. Garnish with fresh coriander.

Recipe adapted from BBCGF.


  1. I love Indian food but have never attempted making anything really authentic. This stuff looks and sounds delicious. Bookmarking now!

  2. I love Dahl too! This looks amazing!

  3. I saw your interview on Rookie Cookie's blog and am excited to peruse your recipes. I love, love, LOVE Indian food and can't wait to try this. I'm a sucker for anything I can dip a good piece of naan in.

  4. sounds delicious. I love dahl.
    Here's my version with red lentils:

  5. Being Indian (from Goa and Mombasa,Kenya - long story), Dahl is a staple in my family...I love it, but I also tire of it...this recipe with the coconut puts a great twist on it. To give my dahl a little zing, I also add lemon juice.
    Great blog.