A rich and creamy coconut dal that’ll have you loving lentils. We are cooking yellow lentils in flavorful, spiced coconut milk – and it only takes minutes to make! Top with a drizzle of ghee or butter for a decadent, comforting bowl of dal.
Coconut dal is rich, creamy, and takes minutes to make – it’s my go-to dal on days when I want something filling and comforting without the fuss.
It’s essentially a Pour-and-Cook Recipe that calls for a handful of ingredients. This is what I make when I don’t have time to prep ingredients or when I have nothing planned for dinner. It has saved us from ordering takeout on many occasions (to my fast-food lovin’ husband’s dismay).
What is Kerala Parippu Curry?
If you’ve never had Kerala dal before, you can expect a rich, creamy, coconutty dal made with lentils that melt right into the soup.
This rich and creamy Kerala-style parippu (another word for “dal”) is a must during special occasions or festivals. It is one of the main dishes served during Onam, a harvest festival celebrated by people of all religions in Kerala. This dal (along with Avial) is always prepared as part of the sadya, a vegetarian feast typically eaten on a banana leaf. No need to wait for a festival to make this – we eat it all the time!
“Ashley, I made this two days ago. I’ve been blown away by all your recipes but this one is now my favorite. It has that South Indian flavor and aroma that reminds me of my friends in Andhra Pradesh whom I haven’t been able to visit in forever. Thank you for sharing both north and south recipes of the finest cuisine in the world!”Russ
“Beautiful recipe, Ashley! I have your cookbook and made this and paired it with the coconut rice recipe in the book as well. Deeeelish! I highly recommend your cookbook to everyone!”Maneesha
Coconut Dal Ingredients
Traditionally, this dal is made with freshly ground coconut paste, but my version calls for full-fat canned coconut milk. Using coconut milk makes this dish even easier to make. I’ve tried the dal with the coconut paste, but I honestly prefer the ease and smoothness of rich, full-fat coconut milk. You can use either toor dal or yellow moong dal to make this recipe. Try both and tell me which you prefer!
- Toor Dal: also known as split pigeon peas. You can also use yellow moong dal if you prefer.
- Coconut Oil
- Black Mustard Seeds
- Curry Leaves
- Serrano Pepper: or another type of green chili
- 1 Can Coconut Milk: full-fat
- Spices: salt, ground cumin, turmeric
- Ghee: optional, nice touch when serving
How to Make Coconut Dal
Press the sauté button, and add the coconut oil to the pot. Once the coconut oil melts, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chili. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the remaining ingredients and pressure cook.
Once it’s done, give it a bit of time to cool down – it’ll look thin at first, but after a few minutes it’ll thicken up quite a bit.
What to Serve with Coconut dal:
Make sure to top this dal with a spoonful of ghee! Eat it with:
- 1 cup split pigeon peas toor dal OR small yellow lentils (moong dal), rinsed
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 30 curry leaves
- ½ – 1 Serrano pepper or green chili minced, to taste
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 13.5 ounce can of full-fat coconut milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- Ghee for serving
- Press the sauté button, add the coconut oil to the pot. Once the coconut oil melts, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chili to the pot. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the remaining ingredients to the pot.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve, and cook for 10 minutes at high pressure.
- Naturally release pressure (or wait 10 minutes then release pressure).
- Give this dal time to cool down; it will look thin upon opening the lid, however, after a few minutes it will thicken quite a bit. Drizzle ghee on top before serving (if desired).
- You can make this recipe with either toor dal or moong dal – they have slightly different flavors but are both delicious!
- I updated this recipe (October 2020) so that it calls for rinsing the toor dal rather than soaking it first. My previous recipe called for soaking the dal for 2 hours, however, I no longer find this necessary for this type of dal. You can still soak the dal if you prefer to do so.
- This dal will thicken the longer it sits so feel free to stir in a bit more water when reheating if needed.