A Northern Sri Lankan (Jaffna Tamil), Dhal Curry

By Home cook Sharmini Jayawardena

This recipe is adapted from My Sri Lankan Recipes* via Pinterest.

Dhal curry is easily the commonest dish prepared in Sri Lanka, with some households having it on their daily lunch menu! However, dhal is not grown in the Country. It is imported from India. Dhal is a most nourishing vegetable protein.


1 cup dhal
2 cups water
1tsp turmeric powder
1tsp sea salt

4tbls coconut cream
50ml water

Ingredients for tempering

1/2tsp mustard seed
1/2tsp cumin seed
1/2tsp fenugreek seed
4 small green chilies sliced
2 curry leaves
1 medium sized onion sliced
1 medium sized tomato cubed
2tbls coconut oil or vegetable oil

1.Wash the dhal 2 to 3 times tossing the water each time.
2.Add water, turmeric powder and sea salt. Give it a good stir.
3.Cook on low flame until dhal is cooked but not mushy.
4.Add coconut cream and extra water, stir and remove from fire. Cover and set aside.
5.Add coconut oil to another pot and heat the oil.
6.Add mustard seeds first. When it pops add cumin seed and fenugreek.
7.Add the sliced green chili and the curry leaves and fry.
8.Now add the sliced onions 🧅 and sauté until translucent. Then, add the chopped tomato 🍅 and sauté.
9.Remove from fire and add the sautéed ingredients to the dhal and give it a good stir.
Cover and set aside.

This dhal curry is great with rice and other accompaniments. I hope to share these numerous accompaniments with you as I go along.

Here are the other dishes that go along with dhal curry and plain steamed rice: potato tempered, tomato curry, French bean curry, tempered ladies finger, brinjal curry, chicken curry, mutton curry or wild boar curry, fish curry, pol sambol, seeni sambol, salaadhey. 

It goes well with bread, roti Cennai/Malaysian flat bread, Sri Lankan pol roti/coconut flat bread, and parathas.


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