One-pan coconut dhal

Rustle up a versatile coconut dhal. It’s the most comforting vegan meal, all made in one pan, and it can also be used as a base to make other curries.

  • Prep:10 mins
    Cook:45 mins
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 531
  • fat 24g
  • saturates 15g
  • carbs 51g
  • sugars 0g
  • fibre 10g
  • protein 22g
  • salt 0.1g


  • 300g red lentils
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
  • thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 5 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 dried red chilli, left whole
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400g can coconut milk
  • coriander leaves, sliced ginger and sliced green chilli, to serve


  1. Rinse the lentils until the water runs clear, then drain. Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan and cook the onions over a low heat for 10 mins until starting to brown, adding more oil if the pan looks dry. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for another 30 seconds. Scatter in the curry leaves, if using, and all the spices and cook for a few minutes more, then stir in the tomato purée and cook for a minute longer.

  2. Stir in the lentils, ensuring they’re well coated in the spices, then pour over the coconut milk and 850ml water. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, then simmer for about 30 mins until the lentils are soft and soupy. Scoop out the whole chilli and discard, then season generously with salt. The dhal can now be left to cool, then frozen in portions, or as one batch in a large plastic container. Defrost completely before reheating in a pan over a low heat, adding more water to loosen if needed.

  3. Serve with a sprinkling of the coriander, sliced ginger and chilli, and drizzle with a bit more oil.

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