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Coconut Vegetable Dhal

I was looking for something light and tasty for dinner, and I thought I had some green lentils in the cupboard and decided to make a Dhal, but when I went to the cupboard I had used them. My back up plan was some dried red lentils. This is a flavoursome dinner and serves 4 people. But it could serve 6 as a side dish to your main course.

For the Dhal

  • 200g/9oz dry lentils

  • 400ml stock

  • 2 tbsp oil/ghee/butter

  • 2 onions, chopped

  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (seeds removed if preferred)

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • ½ tsp ground turmeric

  • ½ tsp chilli powder

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 3 small dried red chillies

  • 200g celeriac, peeled and diced 1cm cubes

  • 200g romanesco cauliflower cut into small florets

  • 400ml coconut milk

  • 8 cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped

For the topping

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • ½ onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 red chilli, thinly sliced

  • large handful fresh coriander leaves


  1. For the dal, heat 1tbsp oil/butter/ghee in a pan and add the lentils and coat them in the oil/butter/ghee. Once coated, add a spoonful of the stock at a time (like making risotto) Keep the pan simmering, not boiling, so that the lentils absorb the stock. Approximately 15-20 minutes.

  2. In another large pan, heat the rest of the oil/ghee/butter. Add the onions, chilli and garlic and cook until softened.

  3. Add the ground spices, dried chillies and a little water to loosen and stir.

  4. Add the celeriac, lentils and coconut milk. Simmer for 10–12 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10–15 minutes, until they have softened but not dissolved.

  5. Meanwhile, for the topping fry the garlic, onion and chilli in the oil until caramelised and crispy. Add the spices and, once you hear the spices pop, take off the heat.

  6. To serve, spoon out the dal and garnish it with the crunchy topping. Sprinkle with the coriander.

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