Sri Lankan Dahl Curry recipe landscape

Sri Lankan Dahl Curry Recipe

Try this simple and flavoursome version of a Sri Lankan staple

This Sri Lankan Dahl Curry recipe is yet another beautiful dish we sampled on the regular while travelling in Sri Lanka recently. This particular dish was a staple at the extensive breakfast spread at one of our favourite stays. It was always offered along with hoppers or eggs on thick cut toast, or roti served with curries, dahl, and coconut sambol. Their kitchen staff kindly shared their recipe with us.

It’s a simple meat free meal with rice or bread, or even better, enjoyed on a rice bowl with lots of accompaniments. Enjoy this easy to whip up Sri Lankan Dahl Curry!



Sri Lankan Dahl Curry Recipe

Serves 2 – 3 people


70g yellow lentils

1 medium sized red or brown onion, chopped finely

1 sprig curry leaves

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 green chillies, sliced

1 fresh cinnamon stick

1 – 2 cardamom pods

3 – 4 cloves of garlic, sliced

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

3/4 cup thick coconut milk

Cooking oil (I use olive oil)

Salt to taste


Sri Lankan Dahl Curry recipe portrait


Place the lentils in a saucepan or rice cooker and fill with just enough water to cover the lentils. Mix through the turmeric powder and par-boil the lentils, then set aside


In another saucepan on low heat add 1 – 2 tbsp of oil and lightly sauté the onion, curry leaves, mustard seeds, chillies, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and cloves of garlic together


Once the onions become golden brown, mix in the turmeric lentils and add the coconut milk. Cook on low heat for 25-30 minutes until the lentils have softened. If they haven’t softened add a 2-3 tablespoons of room temperature water and cook for a little longer


Taste test the dahl and add salt and pepper or a little more of the spices to your liking. Stir and mix together for a few extra minutes before serving


Serving suggestions: Serve with rice, fresh or dried chili on the side, and top with fresh coriander.