Sri Lankan Style Dal
This Sri Lankan Style Dal is easy to make and is a delicious vegan and gluten-free meal that is high in protein. Different than an Indian Dal, Sri Lankan Dal features flavours of coconut and curry leaves for a light and creamy dal you’ll love!
This recipe is sponsored by Mountain Rose Herbs.
A simple and delicious red lentil recipe
If you’ve ever had a traditional Indian red lentil dal, then you probably know just how much flavour can be packed into this simple dish. Dal is one of my favourite Indian dishes to order in a restaurant and goes great with a side of basmati rice, or to dip in some naan bread.
While most of us are probably familiar with Indian Dal, Dal is also a staple in Sri Lankan cuisine and is a little bit different than the typical Indian dish.
Sri Lankan Style Dal is made with coconut milk and curry leaves, which gives it a creamier texture, and a smoother softer flavour. This was one of my favourite dishes I ate while travelling in Sri Lanka.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Sri Lankan Style Dal is perfect for a simple weeknight dinner and goes great alongside some basmati rice, chapati or naan bread.
- This recipe is vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free. It’s also packed with protein and high in fibre for a delicious and healthy meal.
- The Sri Lankan flavours are different than a typical Indian dal, and will pleasantly surprise your taste buds!
How to make a Sri Lankan Style Dal
This recipe is seriously SO simple to make and will become a weeknight staple in your kitchen!
I use Mountain Rose Herbs spices in this recipe which are all organic to make a really flavourful and delicious dal recipe. You can find all the spices and specialty ingredients linked directly in the recipe card.
- Cook the lentils and onion in a pot of water with some turmeric and salt until soft.
- Mix the garlic, ginger and spices together in a pan with some oil until toasted and fragrant.
- Pour the spices into the pot of lentils along with the coconut milk and mix all together.
What is dal made of?
Lentils! Generally, red lentils to be exact.
Though there are some other types of Dal that are made with black or brown lentils. Ultimately, the choice is up to you what type of lentils you’d like to use to make dal.
Red lentils are the softest and will break down into more of a soupier texture, whereas black lentils will hold their shape more.
Tips for making this recipe perfectly
- Don’t forget to rinse your lentils! Red lentils can have a bitter taste to them if they are not rinsed prior to use. Rinse them well in a strainer until you see the water run clear.
- Don’t shy away from the spices. The spices are important to flavour this recipe. If you don’t have the whole spices on hand, you can always substitute for powdered spices.
- Use full-fat coconut milk. Light coconut milk or bottled coconut milk for drinking doesn’t have the same fat content in it, and won’t create the same rich and creamy texture in the Dal.
More lentil recipes to tryPrint
Sri Lankan Style Dal
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Cook
- Cuisine: Sri Lankan
This Sri Lankan Style Dal is a delicious healthy recipe that is vegan and gluten-free and perfect for a simple weeknight dinner!
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp red alaea sea salt
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 2-inch cube ginger, chopped
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp curry leaves
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp rainbow peppercorns
- 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
- *additional salt & pepper to taste
- Add the red lentils, water, turmerc, salt and onion to a pot and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover and let simmer for 20-30 minutes until the lentils are soft.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a pan and add the garlic, ginger and spices, letting everything toast for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the spices to the pot of lentils along with the coconut milk and mix everything together. Let simmer on low for 5 minutes.
- Taste and adjust any seasoning if needed
Don’t forget to rinse your lentils! Red lentils can have a bitter taste to them if they are not rinsed prior to use. Rinse them well in a strainer until you see the water run clear.
Don’t shy away from the spices. The spices are important to flavour this recipe. If you don’t have the whole spices on hand, you can always substitute for powdered spices.
Use full-fat coconut milk. Light coconut milk or bottled coconut milk for drinking doesn’t have the same fat content in it, and won’t create the same rich and creamy texture in the Dal.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 280
- Sugar: 3g
- Sodium: 200mg
- Fat: 11g
- Saturated Fat: 6g
- Carbohydrates: 33g
- Fiber: 16g
- Protein: 14g
Keywords: Dal with coconut, Dal sri lanka
If you tried this Sri Lankan Style Dal or any other recipe on the blog let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below! Be sure to follow along on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook for even more deliciousness!
This was a delicious recipe, I mixed the spices by hand and put them in a little by a little.
Simple easy and tasty!
Definitely a recipe that I will be using again!
I tried It today. Very tasty , my Family liked It.
I haven’t tried this yet but I had dal curry in Sri Lanka and it was one of my favorite things I tried there so I definitely want to try this!
But I’m confused about the spices. Many of them are seeds. Should I grind them up before toasting them in the oil? And what about the curry leaves? Do I toast them whole and then remove them before adding the toasted spices to the pot of lentils?
Hi Rachel, no grinding necessary! The seeds are left whole and the curry leaves are generally left in. This is the traditional way they make it in Sri Lanka!
I haven’t had daal in forever, but it is such a favorite of mine! Red lentils are one of my favorites for Indian recipes and even for super unique recipes like pancakes and brownies! Anyhow, another daal I’ve seen in Indian restaurants use yellow lentils aside from red and black lentils. They have a slightly more distinctive taste to them than the red lentils, in my honest opinion. Still yummy though!