Coconut Curry Leaf Dal

A very simple dal recipe that’s easy to have on hand. Dal is technically any “split pulse” and I use a combination of toor dal, red lentils, and sometimes split mung beans and/or yellow peas to make this dish. You can use whatever you like, but I recommend combining more than one kind. 

  • 2 cups dal
  • 2 Tb canola oil (or other neutral oil – if you aren’t concerned with making this vegan, you can use ghee or butter)
  • 3 sprigs fresh curry leaves (usually in stock in the fresh herbs section of Hunger Mountain Coop)
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric (grated fresh turmeric root tastes even better if you have it, increase the amount to 1 Tb grated)
  • 1/4 tsp hingh (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp + 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 13.5 oz can of coconut milk

Cover the dal well with water and let soak 30 minutes, drain.

Heat oil in the bottom of a soup pot. Add the curry leaves, mustard seeds, cinnamon stick, and turmeric and cook briefly until fragrant. Add the rest of the ingredients, including drained dal – holding out the 1 tsp of salt. Stir to coat everything with the spices. Add the coconut milk and 2 1/2 cups of water and simmer until the dal is soft and begins to disintegrate into a thick soup. Adjust the water while you’re cooking to make it your preferred consistency. Stir in remaining 1 tsp of salt at the end (taste it first and decide if you want more or less). Remove the cinnamon stick, the stem of the curry leaves, and about half the leaves themselves – they taste good to eat but I only want a few in each bowl, not a whole salad’s worth. Serve hot with rice. 

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