Creamy Sri Lankan Dal with Rice

Creamy Sri Lankan Dal with Rice 2264 1276 Madhvi Ramani

This is by far my favorite way to make dal, the classic lentil dish. It doesn’t require any frying, butter or oil, making it super quick and healthy. It’s also a very affordable meal and a deeply comforting dish. The addition of roasted curry powder, which is a Sri Lankan speciality, lends it a unique deep flavor. Pair with Middle-Earth Rose, which has just a hint of sweetness and a pinch of spice that will echo the redolent spices of the dal.

Serves: 4


2 cups red lentils

1 thinly sliced onion

3 cloves thinly sliced garlic

1 inch chopped fresh ginger

1 stick cinnamon

10 curry leaves

1 cup basmati rice

1 tsp roasted curry powder

½ tsp turmeric powder

4 Tbsp coconut milk

Salt to taste

1 finely sliced spring onion to garnish

Chili flakes to taste


Rinse the red lentils. In a large casserole over medium-high heat, cover the lentils with 6 cups of water. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick, curry leaves and stir to incorporate. Cover partially and simmer over moderately low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils break down to a puree.

While the lentils cook, prepare the rice according to the package instructions.

When the lentils are soft and broken down, add salt, roasted curry powder, turmeric powder and coconut milk into the cooked lentils and stir to combine. Garnish with spring onion and chili flakes and serve with rice.


Madhvi Ramani writes articles, essays and fiction. Her work has been published by The New York Times, Washington Post, Asia Literary Review and others. She grew up in London and currently lives a thoroughly bohemian lifestyle in Berlin. Find out more at or follow her on twitter @madhviramani. 


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