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Aromatic Sri Lankan-style dahl

Serves    6
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins

A mild and nutritious lentil curry, loaded with aromatic herbs and spices. It's easy to make, and can easily be refrigerated or frozen for another meal. 

sri lankan dhal




  • 2 cups brown rice 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or 1 ½ teaspoons crushed garlic 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated or 2 teaspoons crushed ginger 
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder 
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 ½ cup red lentils, washed and drained
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock 
  • 1 can lite coconut milk 
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups frozen peas 
  • ½ packet frozen spinach, thawed with the water squeezed out
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste 


  1. Cook rice according instructions on the packet.
  2. While the rice is cooking, heat oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft and clear.
  3. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, curry powder and chilli powder to the onion and stir fry for two minutes.
  4. Add the rinsed lentils to the frying pan and mix well. Pour over the chicken stock, coconut milk and water. Add the frozen peas and stir well.
  5. Bring the mixture to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the lentils to cook until they are tender and the mixture has thickened — this should take about 20 minutes. Stir regularly.
  6. Once the lentils are cooked and the dhal has thickened, stir through the spinach and season well with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve on top of the rice.

Like curry, dhal is a recipe that tastes better the next day, so you can make this in advance and keep it in the fridge until you need it.