Tag Archives: dhal

Parippu – Sri Lankan style dhal with coconut milk

I’m not going to mince words here. If you want to call yourself a serious Sri Lankan cook, this recipe has to be in your repertoire. No buts. Dhal really is the centre of Sri Lankan cuisine, some would probably argue the centre of many South Asian cuisines. It’s cheap, it’s quick and it’s delicious.

While many  babies born in the Western world will delve into the world of solid food with pumpkin pureed to within an inch of it’s life or smashed banana, most Sri Lankan babies I know would count this dish below as one of their first.

Of course, a dish so ubiquitous will naturally be very controversial. There are versions without coconut milk (NOOOOO), there are some that finish of with a crispy fried mixture of mustard seeds, onions and chillies (YES PLEASE) and everyone will have a different preference for how long and soft they cook their lentils. Really, you decide. The spices are easy to follow, if you like the curry hotter at more green chillies and some chilli flakes as you cook. If you like a thicker more creamy dhal cook till the lentil begin to disintegrate and add more coconut milk.  The number 1 rule as far as I was taught is simple, don’t add salt till the end. It will harden the outer shell of the lentil and would wont get that soft, melt in your mouth texture.

As you can see in the pic, I like my lentils separate and with some definition. I don’t want a mush. However, I’ve tasted mushy dhal and it’s just as delicious. It’s just not the way I make it.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup red lentils washed
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1/2 a tomato chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic sliced
  • 2 green chillies sliced (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. maldive fish flakes
  • curry leaves
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • salt to taste

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Preparation

In a small to medium saucepan, place all the ingredients and add enough water to cover the lentils. Stir and place on a medium heat.

As the lentils cook, they will change colour, become less orange and less opaque.Test the done-ness of the lentils by squeezing a lentil between you fingers, it should crush easily. You can cook it past this point, until the lentils start to fall apart if you’re after a softer, less textural curry. At this point, add the coconut milk and bring the curry to the boil.

Turn off the heat, add the salt to taste and serve hot.

 

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Filed under Curries, Sri Lankan Food, Uncategorized, Vegetable Dishes, Vegetarian Curries

Masala Vadai

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I’ve posted a similar recipe before; Dhal Wade, this is just an update on the recipe and some more detailed photos of the “how to” process. I’ve also decided that there is no agreed upon spelling for “Vadai” and have decided to go with a different spelling today.

Yield: This quantity made about 60 medium sizes vadais

Ingredients

  • 3 cups red lentils/channa dhal (I used red lentils, also known as mysoor dhal)
  • 6 tbsp. raw rice
  • 6 tbsp. urid dhal
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 small red onion
  • handful of curry leaves
  • 1 tsp. maldive fish flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves
  • 3 green chillies
  • 3 tbsp. chilli flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. unroasted curry powder
  • 2.5 tsp. salt
  • OIL FOR SHALLOW FRYING
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Preparation

Soak the peas/lentils, rice and dhal for at least 4 hours.
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Drain the lentils well and set aside a cup of of lentils. Using a food processor or blender, process the remaining lentils until it becomes a paste that sticks together. If you grab a spoonful, you should be able to form it into a ball or patty without it falling apart. Add a little bit of water as you’re blending, if you need. The more water you add, the more oil your vadai’s will absorb as they cook.
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I use the pulse function on my food processor and usually blend in 2 batches. I blend one to a fine paste, and the second batch to a slightly coarser paste. I also use the food processor to chop the onions, ginger, curry leaves, chillies and coriander.
Combine the onion mix, the ground lentils and the whole lentils. Finally add the remaining spices and mix thoroughly.
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Using your hands or spoons, form the mixture into patties. I make little quenelles using 2 spoons. I know this isn’t the traditional shape but it keeps my hands clean to turn the already frying vadais and there’s no need to wash my hands every 5 minutes. Feel free to make the traditional flattened patty shape.
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Fry them in batches of 5-8 in a large wok or frying pan on medium heat until the vadais are crispy on the outside and cooked through. I usually test as I go.
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Vadais are best served hot with a cup of hot sweet tea. If you’re storing them, reheat them in a 180 celsius (350 fahrenheit) oven for 10-15 minutes to get that crispness back.
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Filed under Short-Eats, Snacks and Sides, Snacks and Sides, Sri Lankan Food, Vegetable Dishes