Sri Lankan Dhal Curry

A staple in Sri Lankan cooking, parippu as it’s known locally, is eaten with all three main meals. There are many varieties of dhal (lentils) but the one most commonly used is Mysore dhal, typically imported from India, which is orange-red in colour.


  • 1 cup (200 g) dhal (lentils – orange variety)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tblsp oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ onion chopped fine
  • few curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup coconut milk


Wash the dhal well. Add to a pan with water and turmeric and bring the to boil on a medium heat. Care should be taken as dahl tends to boil over. Once the dhal is cooked, it will turn yellow in colour and have a nice mushy content. In a separate pan, heat the oil, and fry the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and the cumin seeds. Add the onions and curry leaves and when the onions caramelise, add mixture to the cooked dhal. Add salt and the coconut milk, and cook mixture over a low heat for about 5 minutes.