Updated: Jul 17, 2021
This recipe is my version of Sri-Lankan Palak Dal (Lentils with Spinach). The traditional recipe was introduced to me by my fellow Sri-Lankan Chef Akhil, my personal touch is the addition of roasted sweet potatoes and peppers. In short, it is very simple to prepare and absolutely delicious, you can eat it with flatbread, rice or as is. If you are looking to add lentils to your diet, this is the best place to start. Enjoy the food!
Ingredients for Dhal:
150g (5.3oz) of red lentils
700ml (0.74quarts) of vegetable stock
400ml (0.42quarts) of coconut milk
400g (14.1oz) sweet potato small dice, skin removed
80g (2.8oz) of spinach
2 medium tomatoes
1 red pepper, diced
1 medium-size onion
2 garlic cloves
1tsp garam masala
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of chilli powder (adjust to preference)
3 tbsp of canola oil
dash of lime juice
Instructions for Dhal:
Preheat the oven to 180C (365F). Mix diced sweet potato and diced red pepper with enough oil to coat and a little bit of salt. Place on a tray with baking paper ready to roast. On the same tray place 2 medium tomatoes and put everything in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
Place red lentils, 700ml of vegetable stock and cinnamon stick in a medium-size pot, bring to the boil then reduce to simmer for around 30 minutes.
In a frying pan, medium heat 1tbsp of oil and add 1 diced onion. Sweat the onion for 5 minutes then add minced 2 garlic cloves, 2tsp of turmeric, 1/2tsp cumin, 1tsp garam masala (add a little more oil if it looks too dry) Once the spices release the fragrance you can transfer everything to the pot with lentils.
By this time your lentils should be cooked nicely, add 400ml of coconut milk and bring it back to simmer.
Once roasted vegetables are ready transfer them to the master pot, remember to remove the skin from the tomatoes and smash them apart first.
Add spinach, a dash of lime juice and a pinch of chilli powder.
Continue simmering Dhal until the right consistency is reached, add more water if it seems too thick.
Serve with rice, flatbread or enjoy on its own!
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Ingredients for Naan Bread:
250g (8.8oz) of plain flour
2tsp of sugar
1/2tsp baking powder
130ml (4.6oz) of milk
1tbsp of canola oil
3tbsp of ghee for pan frying
1tsp Nigella seeds
Instructions for Naan Bread:
Mix all the dry ingredients together then add 130ml of milk with 1tbsp of canola oil. Bring the dough together by hand or a stand mixer. Knead until smooth (around 10 minutes by hand, 6 minutes by mixer).
Rest the dough covered with a cloth for a minimum of 30 minutes to relax the gluten.
Divide the dough into 10 equal portions and roll with a pin as thin as possible.
High heat the frying pan with 1tbsp of ghee, cook naan bread on each side until golden brown. Repeat and add more ghee if needed.
Adding coconut milk in later stages of cooking helps to preserve the bright colour of the dish.
Red lentils are perfect as a thickening agent for sauces.
Here is the Dhal prepared by Reddit user r/mgende. Great job!