Make this coconut dhal for a comforting dinner, then check out more vegetarian curry recipes such as our tarka dhal, spinach, chickpea & potato curry, lentil curry and sweet potato & lentil curry. We've also got plenty more dhal recipes to try. Also read our guide on what is paneer for advice on buying this ingredient.

For more veggie options, try our vegetarian curry, vegetarian chilli, vegetarian paella and other vegetarian recipes.


  • 200g red lentils
  • 400ml tin light coconut milk
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • for frying groundnut oil
  • 225g block paneer, cubed
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves, sliced garlic
  • a thumb-sized piece, cut into matchsticks ginger
  • a handful, chopped coriander
  • chapatis to serve (optional)


  • STEP 1

    Put the lentils, coconut milk, onion, tomato, chillies and turmeric in a pan with 300ml water and lots of seasoning. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer then cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • STEP 2

    Fry the paneer in a little oil until golden and crisp on all sides. Sprinkle over the garam masala, season and toss.

  • STEP 3

    Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a small frying pan and fry the mustard and cumin seeds until they start to pop and become fragrant. Add the garlic and ginger, and fry until very light golden.

  • STEP 4

    Spoon the lentils into bowls, top with the paneer then spoon over the flavoured oil and spices, and sprinkle with coriander. Serve with chapatis, if you like.

More dhal ideas below:

Chickpea dhal with naans

Make a batch of this vegetarian coconut dhal with easy homemade naans to feed a crowd or freeze for later. Plus instructions on how to make the dhal in a slow cooker.

Coconut Dahl Recipe with Homemade Naans

Maharashtrian amti dhal

Olive’s Indian cooking expert, Maunika Gowardhan, shares her recipe for a classic sweet and sour vegan dhal from Maharashtra.

Maharashtrian amti dahl

Butternut squash dhal with eggs and crispy onions

Brighten up your coconut dhal with butternut squash, soft boiled eggs and crispy onions - perfect for a warming midweek meal for four.

Butternut Squash Dahl Recipe with Coconut

Black dhal with paneer-stuffed naan

Lashings of butter and cream give this dhal the X-factor. The beans need time to soak, but once it’s in the oven it looks after itself. This moreish dhal will serve eight.

Black Dal Recipe With Paneer-stuffed Naan

Yellow dhal and peanut soup with coriander

Ready in 50 minutes this wholesome dhal uses moong dal (yellow split mung beans). Moong dal are easy to cook as they don’t need prior soaking, serve this dal recipe with chopped peanuts for extra crunch.

Yellow Dal Recipe with Peanuts and Coriander


Janine Ratcliffe Portrait
Janine RatcliffeFood director

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