Delicious Sri Lankan Dahl July 13 2017 by Simone Denny

2 cups of red lentils
3 cups of water
2 cups of coconut milk (or half coconut milk and half coconut cream)
1 tablespoon of ghee or coconut oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped/crushed
2 green chillies finely chopped
1 sprig of fresh curry leaves (if available)
2 teaspoons of good quality curry powder (ideally unroasted)
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
3 cinnamon quills (broken in half)
1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
2 teaspoons of mustard seeds
2 -3 teaspoons of salt (the secret weapon)
Optional – one bunch of English spinach roughly chopped

  1. Rinse lentils and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion and garlic and gently fry for 1 – 2 minutes.Add chillies, curry powder, cumin seeds, cinnamon quills, turmeric, mustard seeds and curry leaves (if using). Cook for another minute then add lentils and mix them with the spices. Add water and 1 of the 2 cups of coconut milk and simmer until the dahl starts to thicken (about 10 – 15 minutes) – stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick. Once the dahl softens add the last cup of coconut milk (or cream) and spinach if you are adding this. Simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Add salt – this is the key ingredient in dahl! When I was in the kitchen with Sri Lankan cooks I was amazed at how generous they were with the salt but this does make all the difference to the final tastiness of this dish – be liberal.
  4. Serve with rice or alongside other curries.