Quite a few friends have tried being vegan this year, either for Vegan January (or Veganuary) or to try something new and different at the start of this year. I also have a good number of friends trying to eat more vegetarian food. I’m building my blog on a few food principles I believe in. Diversifying the food we eat and trying new things; cooking seasonal food with local produce and expanding mine and other food palettes. I feel this recipe is true to all of those things.

A hearty Dhal can warm up any evening and it’s perfect for those last few days of Winter. It has a fantastic warming flavour and I’ve added a bit more spice to the original recipe which I got from the January 2018 issue of Waitrose Food magazine. It’s also a great vegan dish to try, whether your diet is vegan or not!

Coconut Dhal


Serves 4 | Prep Time 15 minutes | Cook 25 minutes | Vegan, Gluten-Free

Tips: You can freeze the cooked dhal for later as well. If you are adding masala curry paste, you can make your own by using the recipe at the end of the Prawn & Coconut Curry on my blog.

You’ll need:

  • 200g red split lentils;
  • 1 enchalion shallot, finely chopped;
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped;
  • small handful dried curry leaves;
  • small cinnamon stick;
  • 2 green chillies, 1 finely chopped and 1 roughly chopped to garnish;
  • 1-2 tsp hot curry powder;
  • 1 tbsp masala curry paste (optional and if you like it hot. See tip above.);
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional and if you like it hot)
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes;
  • 400ml can coconut milk;
  • coriander leaves to garnish.
  1. Rinse the lentils well in several changes of water until it runs clear. Put the lentils and all ingredients except the coriander and the roughly chopped chilli in a medium saucepan. Add 400ml water to the pan then bring to the boil.
  2. Turn down and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. Season with a bit more salt and add more chilli flakes to taste.
  3. To serve: serve with steamed basmati rice and scatter with the coriander leaves and the roughly chopped chilli, if liked.

This is a great dish to get your protein if you are vegan or vegetarian. As written in the magazine (Waitrose food, issue 2018), rice eaten with pulses forms a “complete protein” which contains the nine essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce on their own. Meat and fish contain all nine, but other foods need to be combined in order to create a “complete protein”.

Original recipe from Waitrose Food, issue January 2018.