How to prepare Sri Lanka-style Lentils ? Recipe

Featuring the same main ingredient as the recipe for dhal, but the result is sufficiently different and worth a try so you can decide which is your favorite. Instead of water, coconut milk is the cooking medium. The flavors are different because distinctively flavored ingredients are added to the frying onions and cooked along with the lentils.


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Serves 6

  • 250 g (8 oz) red lentils
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 750 ml (24 fl oz/3 cups) thin coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons pounded maldive fish
  • 1-2 dried chillies
  • a sprig of curry leaves
  • 5 cm (2 in) strip of pandan leaf1 stem lemongrass, bruised
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) thick coconut milk

Wash the lentils well in several changes of cold water, discarding any that float. Drain the lentils in a sieve. In a heavy saucepan heat the ghee and fry the onions until golden brown. Remove half the onions and set aside for garnish. Add the garlic and ginger and fry a few seconds longer. Add the turmeric and stir, then add the lentils and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the thin coconut milk and remaining ingredients except the salt and thick coconut milk. Bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are half cooked. Add the salt, mix well and cook until the lentils are soft and purred. If the mixture is too liquid, cook uncovered to evaporate some of the water. After cooking add the thick coconut milk. This lentil dish should have a rather wet consistency. Serve garnished with the reserved fried onions.

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