Srilankan Dal

Dal is synonymous with “comfort food” for Indians. I’m sure each state has its own version of Dal curry. In Kerala, we make it our own by adding coconut paste and curry leaves.

When I saw this Srilankan Dal recipe, I was kinda curious. Srilankan cuisine is similar to Kerala cuisine. Apart from using coconut and coconut milk generously, the use of spices and dishes are also very similar. We’ve common dishes like Appam, Puttu, Idiyappam, etc;

This Dal recipe also uses coconut, but unlike our Parippu Curry with coconut paste, this uses coconut milk. Also, in Kerala, we tend to use Cherupayar Parippu (moong dal) or Thuvara Parippu (toor dal) but in this recipe, we use Masoor Dal (red lentils).

Apart from the flavor combination of dal and coconut milk, I also liked the fact that it’s a quick dish. Unlike most dals, Masoor Dal cooks really fast and you don't even need a pressure cooker!

This curry goes well with rice and chapathi. You can have it with plain rice or jeera rice or veg pulao. 

Here is the recipe…

Srilankan Dal
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Srilankan Dal

A tasty and healthy veg side dish of dal made with coconut milk. Goes well with rice and roti. Quick and easy dal recipe.
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Course: Dinner, Lunch, Side, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, Srilankan
Keyword: Curry, Dal Recipe, Healthy recipe,, Vegetarian
Author: Maria Jose Martin


  • 1 cup Masoor Dal
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 cup Medium – Thick Coconut Milk
  • For Tempering
  • 1 Onion (small, chopped)
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 2 Green Chilli (slit lengthwise)
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Crushed red chilli
  • Salt
  • 2 – 3 tsp Oil (I used Coconut oil)


  • Rinse the dal 3-4 times. Add 2 cups water, turmeric powder and salt to dal. Bring it to boil. Reduce flame to lowest and cook till it's done, around 12 – 15 mins.
    Step 1 Srilankan Dal Curry
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  • Mash the cooked dal slightly with the back of the spoon. Add coconut milk gradually and mix well. Continue to cook on low flame for 6-8 mins.
    Step 2 Srilankan Dal Curry
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  • Meanwhile in a small frying pan, heat the oil and add mustard, cumin and fennel seeds. Add chopped onion, crushed garlic, green chilli and chilli flakes. Cook till onion browns. Add this to the dal and mix well. Remove from fire.
    Step 3 Srilankan Dal Curry
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The consistency of dal is medium thick. You can adjust it to suit your requirements.
Keep in mind, that dal tends to thicken as it rests. Adjust the consistency accordingly. 
You can add curry leaves or chopped coriander leaves to the dal. 
Tried this recipe? Let others know by…mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu
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