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Make coconut dhal – it’s tasty, cheap, and healthy!

coconut dhal recipe - picture of coconut dahl curry and okra curry on a blue plate

What’s the idea?

Coconut dhal is a cheap and tasty dish that is easy to make.  Use my recipe below to create this classic Indian dish with an added Thai infusion.

What’s the story?

My recipe for coconut dhal is a real winning dish which I first made 2 years ago.

I love this recipe as it is so simple, and full of goodness and flavour.

My version has a bit of a twist as it’s a fusion of Indian and Thai flavours.

People should do this because…?

This is a twist on a standard coconut dahl which will really wow you!

It’s extremely nutritious, cheap, and filling;

(Lentils are really good for you – find out more.)

It’s very simple to make;

This coconut dahl recipe is the perfect introduction to Asian cooking if you haven’t tried it before.

How do you do it?

Top Tips

Red lentils are the quickest to use as they do not require pre-soaking.

The trick is to keep this dish moving. Keep stirring it and keep your eye on it!  It helps to prep everything in advance.

Coconut Dhal – Ingredients and Equipment

You can dress this up as a main dish or have it as a side with something else. I like it with some fried spicy bhindi as well.

Main ingredients

  • 100g red lentils
  • 200ml coconut milk. (half a tin)
  • 2 lemon grass stalks
  • 3 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1 small chilli
  • 1 large red onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of bouillon powder or 1 vegetable stock cube (2 if you like it a bit saltier)
  • Little oil for frying – olive oil/ rapeseed or coconut oil

Ingredients for finishing touches

  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 finely sliced red chilli
  • Coriander – handful freshly chopped
  • ½ lime cut into wedges

Equipment

  • sharp vegetable knife (please take care when using!)
  • garlic crusher (or just chop finely with a knife)
  • colander or sieve
  • tin/can opener
  • saucepan, wok, or korai
  • large spoon to stir with – wooden is best

Preparation

  1. Wash the lentils thoroughly and set to one side;
  2. Open the tinned coconut milk and measure out what you need and set aside;
  3. Take a small sharp vegetable knife and very finely chop the lemongrass, discarding the tips Take the time to cut it into really small pieces;
  4. Finely chop or crush the garlic;
  5. Chop the red onion and chilli into small pieces;
  6. Mix the garlic, onion, chilli, and lemongrass together in a bowl;
  7. Boil the kettle and add the stock cube to 400ml of boiling water, stir and put aside.

Top Tip: I find the easiest way to chop the lemongrass is to cut it lengthways twice without detaching it from the root, then chop into small pieces from the other end.

Coconut Dhal – Method

  1. Heat the oil to a reasonably high heat in a non-stick saucepan;
  2. Add the garlic, chilli, onion, and lemongrass to the saucepan once the oil and the pan is hot;
  3. Stir for 20 seconds and turn down the heat to medium;
  4. Continue cooking and stirring for 4 minutes or until everything has softened;
  5. Add the lentils and coconut milk and stir for another 4 minutes; (this will really infuse the flavours into the lentils);
  6. Give the stock another stir to make sure the stock cube has dissolved;
  7. Start adding the stock to the lentil mixture, bit by bit, as it gets absorbed;
  8. Keep adding and stirring for around 20/25 minutes until the lentils are nice and soft and the mix isn’t too runny.

How to serve your coconut dhal

  1. Spoon the coconut dahl into bowls;
  2. Add a finely sliced red chilli, a handful of chopped coriander, and a wedge of lime to serve;
  3. You can add extra salt and pepper to taste
  4. Or add a dollop of the leftover coconut milk to make it creamier and less spicy.
  5. The finishing touches are up to you so enjoy experimenting.

Bonus recipe: I added bhindi (ladies fingers/ okra) as a side, as you can see from the photo.

Simply top & tail the bhindi and steam for 2 minutes.  Add into a hot frying pan with a little oil and either chilli flakes or a chopped chilli or just a pinch of salt. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until soft.

Links to useful products

Links to other Stuffer pages

Make an authentic Thai Red Curry

Make a Tasty Soup – Spiced Carrot & Coriander

Links to other pages on the web

All about dahl – Wikipedia

Links to books

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