55 Min


Dal, the quintessential lentil stew of Southeast Asia has umpteen versions scattered through the sub-continent. This dal is an adaptation of the popular parippu, a red lentil stew seasoned with coconut, garlic, onions. The addition of aromatic lemongrass is a bit of game changer! We added lots of spinach to it at the end to make it greener and healthier! For a more traditional version, add a teaspoon of dried chopped fish flakes or shrimp when preparing the masala.
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Cook Time

55 minutes + soak time



Step 1
Soak the lentils for 3 to 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Drain.
Step 2
Over high heat in a large stockpot, combine the beans with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. If any scum or residue rises to the top, skim it off with a slotted spoon and remove. Cover and simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Step 3
Add the turmeric, black pepper, red chile, cumin, ginger, lemongrass, salt and continue simmering the lentils at low heat until completely cooked.
Step 4
Add the coconut milk and continue simmering. In a separate medium sized frying pan over high heat, warm the coconut oil and add the onions. Cook at high heat for a few minutes until they start to turn golden brown, then lower the heat and continue cooking until they are translucent. Add the garlic and kari leaves and stir into the dal. Taste the dal for salt and flavor and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes or longer.
Step 5
When ready to serve, bring to a slow simmer and add the spinach leaves and cilantro then turn the heat off immediately. They will wilt in with the dal. Serve immediately with a squeeze of lime on top.
2 cup whole masoor dal (or split red lentils)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons red chile powder
1 teaspoon toasted ground cumin
2 tablespoons ginger puree
2 tablespoons chopped lemongrass
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 can coconut milk
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup minced onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
15 to 20 kari leaves
4 cups packed chopped spinach leaves (optional)
1 bunch cilantro, minced
Juice of 2 limes

Notes & Variations

  • The spinach can be replaced with kale, swiss chard or collard greens. If you like your greens bright in color and flavor, add them at the end.
  • Drizzle the top of the dal with ghee or more coconut oil.
  • Lemongrass is sold fresh at most Asian grocery markets and be bought chopped and frozen.
55 Min

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