Dahl / Lentil Curry Recipe (Gluten Free)

Posted by Dinesh Perera on April 16, 2012 (1 Comment)

Lentil - Dahl Curry Recipe, Sri Lankan style.

I will leave out serving size and serving suggestions because, as you will see, it can be accompanied by brown or white rice or enjoyed as a hearty soup, depending on how consistent you wish the “hodi” to be. Also, see suggested options at bottom of page. 

This recipe is prepared in two stages. 

First Stage Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2  cup Red Lentils ( Masoor Dahl) washed and drained 
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4  cup Coconut milk ( thoroughly shake can before measuring)
  • 2 teaspoon Turmeric powder 
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 three inch quill Ceylon Cinnamon
  • 2 medium Tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 to 3 fresh Serrano or Thai chili, halved lengthwise
  • 1 sprig Curry Leaves

 Second Stage Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs Ghee or Canola oil
  • 1 Tbs Black Mustard Seed
  • 1 Medium onion halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 Cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 sprig Curry Leaves
  • 5 to 6 pods dried Serrano Chilies
  • 3 to 4 2 inch pcs. Screw Pine (rampe) Available in the freezer section in Asian stores.
  • 1 lime
  • Salt to season
  1. Rinse the Lentils in cold water until clear. Place in a medium saucepan and add all the first First Stage Ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer until the lentils are cooked. Add more water as necessary.

     2. Preparing the tadka. Tadka is a technique whereby spices are introduced to hot oil, which allows the spices to be infused with the added ingredients. In a second pot, heat the ghee or oil on high heat till just beginning to smoke. Add the black mustard seed and cover with a splatter screen. The mustard seeds will pop, releasing their flavor. Once the seeds have finished popping and crackling, add the remaining ingredients, except for the lime juice,  leaving the garlic to last. Reduce the heat to medium high and fry till the onions turn a golden color. Make sure the ingredients do not burn! You can't overdo this unless of course you leave the house... so don't worry!

     3. Once the tadka is ready, carefully add the lentil mixture to the sautéed spices and allow to simmer gently for a couple of minutes. Add lime juice and adjust the seasoning with salt. The Lentil or Dahl curry is ready to be enjoyed as an accompaniment to rice.

    Options: If you wish to make this dish into a hearty soup, add another ½ to 1 cup of water when cooking the lentils. Add diced carrots and celery, and or okra - cut into 1-inch lengths. 

    So, simply by adding some spices we find a simple way to prepare a dish that serves both your health and your taste buds. 

    I highly recommend using organic ingredients whenever possible, as well as grinding your own spices as needed. This preserves the alluring aroma and delectable flavor of freshly-ground spices. 


    May this recipe Enliven Your Palate!® 

    Compliments of Dinesh, The Spicy Gourmet® 


    Comments (1 Comment)

    This is the best Dahl recipe I’ve ever had. Thank you for posting!! I have been making your recipe since 2016, with rave reviews. I often cook Sri Lankan food and this is always included.

    Posted by Angela on July 22, 2023

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