Go Back
+ servings
coconut lentil curry and brown rice on plate

Coconut dal

Fragrant, filling and frugal, this coconut dal can be made in one pot, saving on time and on the washing up. A delicious take on the classic Indian lentil dish, this vegan red lentil dal with coconut milk is sure to become one of your go-to dinners.
Course Main
Cuisine Indian, Vegan
Keyword coconut dal
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 488kcal


  • Chopping board
  • Sharp knife
  • Large saucepan with lid
  • Wooden spoon


  • 1 tablespoon sunflower or vegetable or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 curry leaves*
  • 1 white onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • thumb sized piece of ginger chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder or to taste
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 250 g dried red lentils*
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 500 ml hot water plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander (cilantro) to serve


  • Heat a tablespoon of sunflower oil in a large saucepan. Add a teaspoon of mustard seeds, a teaspoon of cumin seeds and three curry leaves. Stir fry until the mustard seeds begin to pop.
  • Add a chopped onion, stir well, turn the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft.
  • Remove the lid, turn the heat up to medium and cook for a further 5 minutes until the onion has some colour on it.
  • Add 3 cloves of chopped garlic and a thumb-sized piece of chopped ginger. Stir and fry for several minutes until starting to soften.
  • Stir in a teaspoon of turmeric and half a teaspoon of chilli powder (omit or increase to suit your taste).
  • Add your two chopped tomatoes, stir and cook for 5-10 minutes until soft.
  • Pour in 250g red lentils, 400ml coconut milk and 500ml hot water. Stir well and bring to the boil before reducing the heat to a simmer.
  • Cook, stirring often, for 20-30 minutes until the lentils are soft. Top up with extra hot water if needed.
  • When cooked add a tablespoon of garam masala and season with salt to taste. Stir well and serve with fresh coriander leaves and rice or bread.


  1. Curry leaves can be found in big supermarkets or Asian supermarkets. You can leave them out if you can't find them.
  2. No pre-soaking needed.
  3. Can be made ahead and reheated. Store in the fridge.
  4. Suitable for freezing.
  5. Nutritional information is approximate and is intended as a guideline only.


Calories: 488kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Sodium: 27mg | Potassium: 1044mg | Fiber: 21g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 646IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 9mg