Sri Lankan Dhal

Dhal is such a comforting food. I love the mixture of spices, the stodgy consistency and how wonderfully versatile it is. You can experiment with whichever spices you like! One rule to go by is don’t skimp on anything, you can’t have too much flavour. This recipe is what I find works best, while I was in Sri Lanka a while back I discovered the wonder of coconut milk in dhal, so good! I think I had dhal once a day for 2 weeks, it just did not get boring.

So apart from the amazing flavours in this dish why should you cook it? I could tell you so something about almost every ingredient here, it’s a super dish, full of plant based protein. Instead I’ll tell you about three magical spices.

Ginger – it’s been used for thousands of years to treat nausea whether that’s sea sickness, morning sickness or due to cancer treatment. So the next time you are feeling queezy how about a cup of hot water with ginger, lemon and honey?

Cinnamon – it’s packed full of antioxidants, there are more antioxidants in one teaspoon of cinnamon than half a cup of blueberries! Antioxidants are particles which sweep up free radicals – horrible particles which harm your cells and are thought to cause cancer.

Turmeric – a famous inflammatory, it is comparable to hydrocortisone for its effects and hasn’t any harmful toxins.

Serves 4, great as a side dish too. Enjoy 🙂



1 Tbsp Ghee
1 Cup Lentils
5 Cardamom Pods
1 Chilli
4 Cloves Garlic
1 Onion
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Tbsp Brown Mustard Seeds
Handful Dried Curry Leaves
1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 Tsp Turmeric
1 Thumb Sized Chunk Ginger
10 Cherry Tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato purée
1 Can Coconut Milk
1 Tbsp Desiccated Coconut
400ml Vegetable Stock
1 Lime



1) Heat up the ghee and add the mustard seeds – be careful not to burn them, they go really bitter and can ruin the whole dish.

2) After a minute or so add the onion. While the onion is softening measured rout your spices and heat them up in a pan until fragrant. Once they are fragrant grind them with a mortar and pestle.


3) When the onions are soft add the finely chopped ginger, pressed garlic and spices. Sizzle for a minute or so.

4) Add the lentils and coat them in all the spices before you add the coconut milk, stock, halved tomatoes, curry leaves, cinnamon stick and tomato purée.

3) Now you wait, leave the dhal to simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are super soft. Serve with brown rice, wholegrain chapatis, yoghurt, lime and coriander. Yum!



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