Coconut & Kale Toor Dhal

Add sweet, nutty coconut milk to the toor dhal base alongside the spiced seasoned oil, before serving with super-healthy kale and coconut chips.
Serves 4
Total Time
1 Hour
For the toor dhal base
150g of toor dhal
500ml plus 2 tbsp of boiling water
2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp of fine sea salt
For the tadka
5 tbsp of vegetable oil
1cm of piece of cassia bark or cinnamon stick
4 cloves
1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
10–15 fresh curry leaves
1/2 tsp of ground cumin
1/2 tsp of ground coriander
1/2 tsp of ground turmeric
1/2 tsp of Kashmiri chilli or chilli powder
To finish
200ml of coconut milk
1 tsp of palm sugar/jaggery
50g of chopped fresh kale
To serve
dried coconut chips
cooked basmati rice or Naan Breads
Pressure cooker (optional)
Step 1
For the dhal base, pick through the toor dhal to remove any stones. Place it in a colander and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear. Transfer the rinsed lentils to a pressure cooker with the boiling water, ginger and salt. Close the pressure cooker and place over a medium heat. Cook for about 15 minutes or 9 whistles. (If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you will first need to soak the picked and rinsed lentils in 1 litre of boiling water for 4 to 5 hours. Drain, then transfer the lentils to a large saucepan with 1 litre of fresh boiling water, the ginger and salt. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil, then simmer over a medium heat for 60 to 70 minutes, topping up the boiling water as needed.)
Step 2
When the lentils are soft and falling apart, release the steam from the pressure cooker slowly (or remove the pan from the heat). Most of the water should have been absorbed during cooking, but gently crush the lentils with any small amount that remains. Set aside.
Step 3
For the tadka, place the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the cassia bark or cinnamon stick and the cloves and let them sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and shake the pan gently. After about 30 seconds, stir in the curry leaves, cumin, coriander, turmeric and Kashmiri chilli/chilli powder.
Step 4
Pour the cooked toor dhal base into the seasoned oil and mix well. Simmer gently over a medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 5
To finish, pour in the coconut milk, add the palm sugar or jaggery and kale. Simmer gently for 10 minutes to allow the kale to soften.
Step 6
Meanwhile, toast the coconut chips in a hot, dry frying pan or skillet for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until crisp and toasted.
Step 7
Divide the dhal into serving bowls and top each one with toasted coconut chips. Serve on its own or with cooked rice or naan breads. Here, sweet, nutty coconut milk is added to the toor dhal base alongside the spiced seasoned oil. Super-healthy kale and coconut chips bring an extra dimension of texture.

Recipe courtesy of The Delicious Book of Dhal: Comforting Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes Made with Lentils, Peas and Beans by Nitisha Patel, published by Ryland Peters & Small. Photos:Clare Winfield. 

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