Puy Lentil & Coconut Dal

5 Sep

Puy lentils are the small green lentils which come from Le Puy in the northern part of the Cevennes. Nutritionally rich and earthy in flavour they make great vegetarian main dishes. This dry dal, or Indian style lentils, may not look pretty, but it is packed with flavour, heat and is utterly delicious.

  • 1 cup Puy or small green lentils
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 very hot fresh chillis (I’ve used Lemon Drop)
  • 2 cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric

Final Fry

  • 1 tsp peanut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 10 dried curry leaves
  • 2-3 dried hot bird chillis
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Wash the lentils and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Slit the fresh chillis down the middle and remove the seeds. Put the sesame oil in a large heavy pan and fry the onion gently. Drain the lentils and add to the pan along with the water, chillis, ginger and turmeric cover and cook until the lentils are soft but still whole.
Heat a small frying pan and add the oil, when it is hot add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and dry chillis when the seeds begin to pop add the coconut and salt fry until the coconut begins to toast then tip into the lentils, stir and cover. Check seasoning adding a little more salt or chilli to taste and a little more water if it is too dry. At this point you can also add some fresh coriander leaves. Serve with rice, Indian chutneys, a vegetable dish and yogurt relish.


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