Chitra Agrawal coconut dal with turmeric rice

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This tasty dal is an ode to simple meals that chef and cookbook author Chitra Agrawal ate as a child at her grandmother's house in South India. In its version, the heat of the spices is tempered by the sweetness of the coconut cream and the taste of the tamarind paste, making it a great recipe even for young children. —Food52

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Chitra Agrawal coconut dahlia with turmeric rice

  • Coconut dal
  • 1 cup

    red lentils

  • 2 tablespoons

    butter or sunflower oil

  • 1 tsp

    cumin seeds

  • 1 pinch

    fetid handle

  • 1/2

    onion, diced

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    turmeric powder

  • 2 tablespoons

    minced garlic cloves

  • 1 tablespoon

    Tomato paste

  • 3 cups


  • 1 tsp

    coriander powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon


  • 2

    carrots, peeled and cut into half ¼-inch discs

  • 3/4 teaspoon


  • 1 tsp

    tamarind paste

  • one

    can of coconut milk

  • Turmeric rice
  • 1 cup

    basmati rice

  • 1 3/4 cups


  • 1/8 teaspoon

    turmeric powder

  1. Coconut dal
  2. Thoroughly wash the lentils with a fine mesh strainer.

  3. Heat the ghee or oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When melted, add a cumin seed. When the seed sizzles, add the rest of the cumin and asafetida seeds.

  4. Fry the onions until golden and fragrant. Add the turmeric powder. Then add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.

  5. Then add the tomato paste and a few tablespoons of water, mixing it so that it is incorporated into the rest of the ingredients in the pan.

  6. Add the coriander powder and paprika and stir the pan well. Fry for a few seconds.

  7. Add the carrots to the saucepan and sprinkle with salt. Give them a good stir.

  8. Then add the washed and drained lentils with the water. Bring to a boil. Stay by the stove and control the foam as your pot could boil quickly if you are not looking. Remove the foam. Lower the heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer until well cooked, about 25 minutes.

  9. Add the tamarind and boil for a few minutes. Then add the coconut milk and heat. Add salt to taste.

  10. Garnish with coriander if desired. Serve with turmeric rice and a tablespoon of yogurt.

  1. Turmeric rice
  2. Wash the rice with several changes of water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in water, generously covered, for at least 30 minutes. This is optional but results in smoother, more evenly cooked rice. Drain well, using a fine mesh sieve.

  3. Put the rice, water and turmeric in a medium saucepan. Place the saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, cover the saucepan and light the fire to the lowest level in your stove.

  4. Cook until the rice is tender and there is no water left in the pan, about 15 minutes. Put out the fire. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave it covered for 10 minutes, to allow the grains to separate. Fluff with a fork before serving.

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