Coconut and Kale Toor Dhal

Toor dhal has a very subtle nutty flavour, which is more noticeable when cooked and served firm. Here, sweet, nutty coconut milk is added to the toor dhal base alongside the spiced seasoned oil. Super-healthy kale and coconut chips bring an extra dimension of texture to this vegan dish from Nitisha Patel’s The Delicious Book of Dhal.

 The Delicious Book of Dhal



150 g/½ cup toor dhal

500 ml/2 cups plus 2 tbsp boiling water

2.5-cm/1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

½ tsp fi ne sea salt


5 tbsp vegetable oil

1-cm/½-inch piece of cassia bark or cinnamon stick

4 cloves

½ tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp cumin seeds

10–15 fresh curry leaves

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp Kashmiri chilli/chili powder


200 ml/generous ¾ cup coconut milk

1 tsp palm sugar/jaggery

50 g/1¾ oz. chopped fresh kale


Dried coconut chips

Cooked basmati rice or Naan Breads

Pressure cooker (optional)

Serves 4


For the dhal base, pick through the toor dhal to remove any stones. Place it in a colander and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear. Transfer the rinsed lentils to a pressure cooker with the boiling water, ginger and salt. Close the pressure cooker and place over a medium heat. Cook for about 15 minutes or 9 whistles. (If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you will first need to soak the picked and rinsed lentils in 1 litre/quart of boiling water for 4–5 hours. Drain, then transfer the lentils to a large saucepan with 1 litre/quart of fresh boiling water, the ginger and salt. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil, then simmer over a medium heat for 60–70 minutes, topping up the boiling water as needed.)

When the lentils are soft and falling apart, release the steam from the pressure cooker slowly (or remove the pan from the heat). Most of the water should have been absorbed during cooking, but gently crush the lentils with any small amount that remains. Set aside.

For the tadka, place the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the cassia bark or cinnamon stick and the cloves and let them sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and shake the pan gently. After about 30 seconds, stir in the curry leaves, cumin, coriander, turmeric and Kashmiri chilli/chili powder.

Pour the cooked toor dhal base into the seasoned oil and mix well. Simmer gently over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes.

To finish, pour in the coconut milk, add the palm sugar/jaggery and kale. Simmer gently for 10 minutes to allow the kale to soften.

Meanwhile, toast the coconut chips in a hot, dry frying pan/skillet for 2–3 minutes, stirring constantly, until crisp and toasted.

Divide the dhal into serving bowls and top each one with toasted coconut chips. Serve on its own or with cooked rice or naan breads.


This recipe is from The Delicious Book of Dhal by Nitisha Patel. To get more great blog posts like this one - direct to your inbox – be sure to sign up to our mailing list here.