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Red lentil dhal

Is this the ultimate comfort food?

By Emma Knowles
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 25 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
  • Print
Red lentil dhal
Dhal is classic comfort food, served in various iterations across the subcontinent. We'd happily eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's even better the next day, so make a double batch to enjoy later.


  • 250 gm red lentils, rinsed, drained (1¼ cups)
  • 50 gm finely grated ginger
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp Sri Lankan curry powder
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 500 ml coconut milk (2 cups)
  • 8 fresh curry leaves, plus extra, fried, to serve
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 long green chillies, thinly sliced
  • 60 gm coconut oil
  • 2 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 60 ml coconut cream (¼ cup)
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus extra wedges, to serve
  • Steamed basmati rice, coriander and warmed roti (optional), to serve


  • 1
    Combine lentils, ginger, turmeric, curry powder, cinnamon quill, coconut milk, curry leaves, a third of the onion, half the garlic and 1 green chilli in a saucepan. Add 350ml water, bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, until lentils are breaking down (20-25 minutes).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, melt coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add mustard seeds, remaining onion, garlic and chilli and fry, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and browned (5-6 minutes; be careful, mustard seeds and oil will spit). Remove from the heat and stir into lentils when they are ready. Add coconut cream and lime juice and season generously to taste with sea salt. Serve hot with rice, fried curry leaves, coriander
    and roti. 


Drink Suggestion: Crisp cold lager. Drink suggestion by Max Allen