Sri Lankan Red Lentil Curry

I got this recipe from She is my favorite indian cookbook author. I love her recipes! Thank you Richa! I make this recipe all the time, it’s my new favorite soup and sandwich lunch with Vegetable Paratha. This recipe has coconut milk in it which gives it a smooth mouth feel. This is so good!

I make this so much that quadrupled the spices and ground up enough to make a short cut for myself.

Sri Lankan Red Lentil Curry

Course Soup, World Recipes
Cuisine Indian, Sri Lankan
Servings 2 people


  • 3/4 cup Red lentils masoor dal - these are split lentils (red/pink) Rinsed well, important to cut out bitter taste
  • 1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 1/3 tsp Black peppercorns
  • 1/3 tsp Cayenne or to taste or 1-2 dried red chilies. California red for mild, cayenne or bird eye red chilies for hot
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 6-8 Curry leaves fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 Small red onion chopped
  • 2 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 3/4 tsp Salt or to taste
  • 1/4 cup Coconut milk or other non dairy milk or more if you like it creamier
  • 1 Tomato finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Shredded coconut


  • Wash and soak the red lentils. Grind the fenugreek, black pepper, cayenne/red chilies, into a powder, add turmeric and set aside. In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and let them start to pop. Add curry leaves carefully and mix in. Add the ground fenugreek seed powder, stir and cook for 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Add onions, cinnamon stick and a pinch of salt. Mix to coat with spices. Cook for about 3 minutes. Drain and add the lentils to the saucepan. Add water, salt and coconut milk. Mix. Partially cover and cook for 12 to 14 minutes. Add in the tomatoes, lemon juice, taste and adjust salt and spice. Lower the heat to low. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Stir once in between.
  • Garnish with shredded coconut and pepper flakes (optional). Serve as a soup with crackers or as dal with rice or flatbread.
Keyword coconut milk, lemon, Lentils, Sri Lankan

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