Red Lentil Coconut Curry

Classic flavours, a far cry from your regular dal, this recipe is vegan, flavourful and a quick fix for weeknights. This is my take on a staple Sri Lankan dish called Parippu.


  • For the Lentils
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 11/2 Cups Split Red Lentil/Masoor Dal
  • For the Coconut Curry
  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil/Coconut Oil
  • 1 Onion (finely sliced)
  • 11/2 Tbsp Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 3 Tbsp Fresh Ginger (minced)
  • 3/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1.5 Cup Coconut Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Sugar (if using regular sugar, change the quantity to 1 Tbsp)
  • 2-3 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice


Prep: 10 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes

  1. Soak the lentils in water for a minimum of an hour (this helps the lentils cook faster). Drain the water out and set aside.
  2. In a separate large cooking pot or large pan, bring water to a boil, add lentils and bring back to a boil.
  3. Once the water starts boiling, reduce heat to a medium-low flame and cook lentils uncovered for 5-7 minutes or until al dente but tender. Then drain and set aside.
  4. Subsequently, heat a separate large rimmed skillet or pan over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, onion, garlic and ginger. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Now add salt, garam masala, turmeric, and chilli powder. Cook for a minute more on low heat.
  6. Add coconut milk and coconut sugar. Stir and cook over low heat for 4-5 minutes to combine the flavours.
  7. Add the drained cooked lentils to the coconut sauce and stir. 
  8. Taste at this stage and adjust salt, garam masala, chilli powder, and coconut sugar (I usually go big on flavours, so seasoning is super important). 
  9. Turn off the heat, add lemon juice, and stir. Garnish with some fresh coconut milk and serve with steamed rice.