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#Birdcooks: The Comfort of Coconut Dahl

#Birdcooks: The Comfort of Coconut Dahl

Here's a chance to raid your store cupboard for pulse and spice.  

Choose the pulses that come to hand - think red lentil, split pea, black or green lentil, black eyed beans - work with what you have and enjoy discovering less known ingredients.  

Delicately spiced with cardamom, fennel and cumin, this is a aromatic hug in a bowl.


300g washed, soaked and cooked pulses, as per packet instructions - this may need to be started the night before with an overnight soak.

1 generous onion, peeled and chopped.

A chunk of fresh ginger and three garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine.

30g/2 tbsp tomato paste (*I used a tomato paprika paste as it was all I had - tasted just fine.)

1 400g can of full fat coconut milk. 

1/2 litre water.

Coconut oil or butter for frying

A teaspoon each of the following spices: cumin seeds, turmeric, fennel seeds.

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 cardamom pods, gently crushed with the flat of a cook's knife.

Sea salt to taste.

Dress with: fresh, chopped coriander, toasted almond slivers and chilli oil.


Warm the coconut oil in the the base of an oven proof, lidded pot over a medium heat.

Add the onions with a pinch of salt and stir through to coat all over.

Clamp on the lid and allow the onions to reduce until soft, sweet and translucent. This takes about 5 minutes.

Remove the lid, scatter your spices and allow to sizzle. The spices will begin to release their aromatic oil. Give a good stir and add garlic, ginger and the tomato paste.

Stir and cook out for a few minutes. Add the prepared pulses of your choosing. Tip in coconut milk and water and stir once more.

Bring to the boil and reduce heat. Clamp on the lid and allow to simmer for 2 hours, until the pulses are completely reduced.

This is a slow food dish and one to keep you company in the kitchen as it quietly putters on a back burner.

Top up with a drop of boiling water every so often as needed to keep the dahl fluid - it's up to you how thick you take your dahl, just take care to ensure it doesn't catch.

Serve warm with chopped, fresh coriander, toasted almond slivers and chilli oil. Great with flat breads to mop it up.

Share your dahl photos - roll them out on Instagram with #birdcooks and see you there!

*This formula is featured on our Bird Cooks IGTV channel and Bird Cooks You Tube - head on over to watch the recipe in action with Bird founder, Vic North.




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