Parippu (Sri Lankan dhal)

“Dal or parippu is a staple in Sri Lankan cuisine. It’s such a simple dish but packed with flavour. It can be eaten with rice and curry, roti, naan or with toast; my husband’s favorite. It pairs with any carb.” – LoveAndOtherSpices

Parippu is the ultimate comfort food. This recipe is from ‘Sri Lankan Red Lentil Curry’ by VeganRicha with a few tweaks as I didn’t have all the ingredients.


3/4 cup split red lentils
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/3 teaspoon black peppercorns
1-2 dried red chillies
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
A few tablespoons neutral flavoured vegetable oil for cooking
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
Half a dozen curry leaves (fresh, frozen or dried)
1 small white onion chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut milk
500ml water
1 tomato finely diced

  1. Dump split red lentils into a large mixing bowl and cover with water. Allow to soak for 30 minutes or so (while you prepare the other ingredients)
  2. Grind the fenugreek, peppercorns, chillies and turmeric until a fine powder and set aside
  3. Heat oil on medium heat in a large pot and add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Allow them to pop and sizzle for a few seconds
  4. Add the onions, spice mix (made in step 2), cinnamon and salt and saute for a minute or two until fragrant
  5. Turn to high heat and add lentils, coconut milk and water to the pot. Bring to the boil, pop the lid on the pot, turn down to low heat and simmer for 15 minutes stirring every now and then
  6. Add chopped tomato and simmer for another 15 minutes until the lentils are soft.

    I like my dhal very soupy but if you like it thicker, reduce it further by leaving the pot to simmer for longer with the lid off. If you like it creamier, you can add more coconut milk.

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