I was first introduced to Sri Lankan Dhal in 2008. The dish has since become a staple in my cooking repertoire. Dhal is a gorgeous red lentil dish using spices and coconut milk. This particular recipe uses red lentils but yellow and green lentils can also be substituted (the Dhal in the photo is actually a red lentil which funny enough turns yellow when cooked with the tumeric!).
My youngest boy (now 2) has loved Dhal (minus the chili) since he was about 1 year old. He enjoys it on its own or served with rice. Personally, I love a serve of Dhal for lunch with some brown rice and one another Sri Lankan vegetable dish such as Mushroom, Tomato and Onion Salad or it would make a complete meal served alongside these Tangy Pork Meatballs. Dhal is also delicious served as a side dish to meat however you really do need to serve it with rice as it’s quite a wet dish.
As with all Sri Lankan cuisine, you can choose to spice Dhal up or keep it mild. I like to include a couple of whole green chilis that I can serve for myself and keep my husband and children’s meals chili free. I simply chop the chili through my serving of Dhal (it would blow my socks off if I tried to eat them whole!). I find that chili is great to clear my sinuses so if I feel a cold coming on, I make a myself a big bowl of Dahl with an extra green chili for good measure.
Sri Lankan Dhal
Ingredients (Serves 4 as a side)
- 1 cup (100 g) red lentils
- 1 clove chopped garlic
- 1 small chopped onion
- 1 tsp. curry powder
- ½ tsp. tumeric
- ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. Coconut powder mixed with 1 cup boiling water
- Whole green chilies (optional)
- Put red lentils in a saucepan, cover with water and wash it by rubbing it together vigorously. Rinse the water and repeat 2-3 times or until the water runs clean.
- Mix red lentils with garlic, onions, curry powder, mustard powder, tumeric, salt and just cover with water.
- Bring to the boil then cook on medium for 5 minutes or until the red lentils are soft.
- Add the coconut powder/water to the Dahl. Add the green chilies.
- Cook for another few minutes, stirring.
- Taste and season with more salt if required.
- Serve with rice.
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