Lentil and vegetable coconut curry

A mix of lentils or dals, with veggies, coconut milk, spices, oats and flaxseeds.

It’s a variation of dal, with a some twists and turns. I came up with this recipe, just to bring a change in taste, texture and flavours to the usual dals we eat every other day. Yes, dal is a staple in our diets, have grown up eating dal, roti and chawal, the tasty combinations of lentils, rice and bread 😊 Now my daughter is growing up on it.  This recipe is especially for her, since she is averse to eating oats and healthy whole grain cereals otherwise. Of course, she has no idea that there are oats and flax seeds in this dal! Nobody can really guess while eating it. A tad spoonfuls of whole grains actually add a wonderfully different texture and nutty flavour to the otherwise mundane dal (if one eats it every other day, it can get boring). Plus, vegetables and coconut milk add another tasty layer of flavours and richness to the lentils and whole grains. I bring it all together by adding spices from my biggest kitchen necessity, my handy masala box. And save the best for last- a big dollop of a tempering or tarka with ghee, whole spices and curry leaves. Yum to say the least!

Servings : 4 to 6


Red masoor dal(red lentils) – 1 cup

A mix of green and yellow toor dal(split pigeon peas) – 1/2 cup

2 tbsp. flaxseeds

2 tbsp. oats

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

1 cup chopped onions

1 tomato, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp.minced fresh ginger

1 tsp.minced green chillies or jalapeño

1 cup coconut milk. I use the unsweetened canned milk.

Paprika or Kashmiri red chilli powder – 3/4 tsp.

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp.

Coriander powder – 1 tsp.

Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp.

Oil – 1 tbsp.

Salt, to taste

A handful freshly chopped cilantro (optional)

For the tempering or tarka:

1 tsp.cumin seeds

1 tsp.black mustard seeds

2 whole dried red chillies

An inch or two stick of cinnamon

6-8 curry leaves

2 tsp.ghee

Soak the lentils/dals for at least an hour. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil. Add the onions and sauté on medium to medium high heat till they start developing a light brown color. Add the carrots and celery and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and green chillies. Sauté for 2 minutes. On low flame, add the paprika, turmeric and coriander powders. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Stir well. Add the flaxseeds and oats. Stir. Add the dals, stir well and add sufficient water, about 6 cups. The water should completely cover the dals, about 2 inches of water above the dal level. Bring to a boil. Skim off any froth that forms on the surface of the water. Reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes, till the dal is cooked and tender.

Alternatively, the dal mixture can also be made in a pressure cooker. Cook for 2 whistles and simmer for 5 minutes on low heat.

With an immersion blender, blend the dal to a purée. Add coconut milk and stir well. Add salt to taste. Before serving, add the tarka or tempering :

For the tempering or tarka :

Heat ghee in a small pan. Add the spices, red chilli and curry leaves. Once the seeds start cracking, remove from heat, add a pinch of paprika or Kashmiri red chilli powder. Pour over the dal. Cover with a lid for a couple of minutes. Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice and add freshly chopped cilantro, if you desire. Stir well and serve hot.


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