Bowl of Sri Lankan Dhal Curry

Sri Lankan Dhal Curry

Sri Lankan Dhal curry is everyday red lentils cooked in coconut milk.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Sri Lankan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 3


  • ¼ cup Masoor Dal ~ Red Lentils
  • ½ cup Water
  • 1 - 2 tbsp Coconut Milk or Oil of choice

Tempering Ingredients

  • 2 tsp Coconut Oil
  • tsp Mustard Seeds
  • tsp Cumin Seeds
  • tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • 3-4 Curry Leaves
  • 2-3 Green Chilies cut in half
  • ¼ cup sliced Onions
  • ¼ cup Tomatoes chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • Garlic optional


  • Wash masoor dal and cook with ½ cup of water until dal is cooked but firm. This takes about 10-15 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk and continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Meantime, heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, cumin, fenugreek seeds and let mustard seeds pop.
  • Throw in curry leaves, green chilies, onions and saute until onions are soft.
  • Add tomatoes, salt, turmeric and cook until tomatoes are soft, and mushy.
  • Transfer onion tomato mixture to cooked masoor dal, keeping aside a some  mixture for garnish.
  • Check consistency of dal, add water if required, bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Garnish dhal curry with remaining onion tomato mixture.  
  • Serve hot with rice along with few other  non veg or veg curries.


  • Garlic - is an optional ingredient and if using, add some crushed garlic in tempering.
  • Coconut Milk - I used canned milk. If using top layer, use 1 tbsp. If using coconut milk, use 2 tablespoons.
  • Green Chilies - Dhal is not spicy hot and add more green chilies for some heat, as per heat tolerance level.
  • Variation - Cook dal with some onion, garlic and curry leaves. This is in addition to onions and curry leaves that go into the tempering.