Chickpea & coconut dhal served in a casserole dish

Chickpea & coconut dhal

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(17 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 50 mins


Serves 4-6

You’ll love the ‘tarka’, which is the spiced butter that’s poured over this subtly flavoured Indian chickpea and coconut dhal. Serve with chutneys and pickles alongside

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Gluten-free
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: Per serving (6)

  • kcal327
  • fat18g
  • saturates12g
  • carbs25g
  • sugars4g
  • fibre7g
  • protein11g
  • salt0.1g
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  • 1½ tbsp ghee or groundnut oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3cm piece ginger, peeled and grated



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp nigella seeds
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika



    A spice that's central to Hungarian cuisine, paprika is made by drying a particular type of…

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 4 cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained
  • 75g yellow split peas
  • 400ml can coconut milk
    Coconut milk in a glass, with half a coconut

    Coconut milk

    ko-ko-nut mill-k

    Coconut milk is not the slightly opaque liquid that flows from a freshly opened coconut –…

For the garnish

  • 2 tbsp ghee, or unsalted butter



    The Indian version of clarified butter (ie a butter that has had its milk solids removed, making…

  • 2 shallots, finely sliced



    Related to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped


  1. Heat the ghee or groundnut oil and fry the onion over a medium heat until it’s pale gold and soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another couple of mins. Stir in all the spices and cook for another minute or so, then add all the remaining ingredients and 450ml water. Bring to just below boiling point, turn the heat down and simmer for about 40 mins until the split peas are soft. If you like your dhal thick in texture, mash the chickpeas to break them down. If the mixture is getting dry, add more water. If it’s too thin, keep cooking until you get the thickness you want. There is no ‘right’ consistency; dhal can be almost brothy or like a thick purée.

  2. To serve, heat the ghee or butter in a pan and add the shallots. Fry until they’re golden, then add the cumin seeds, black mustard seeds and chilli flakes. Cook until their aromas are released. Scatter coriander on top of the dhal, then pour over the spiced butter.

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Comments, questions and tips

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8th Jul, 2020
I think that instead of just plain boiling water, a vegetable stock is what you need to take it up a notch! I replaced paprika with degi mirch powder and cooked it with lid on for 20 minutes then off lid for 20. Otherwise this is so delicious - I can eat this for days.
Always Cooking
13th Apr, 2020
Delicious! However I agree with previous comment that it was ’bland’. But I think that is only because of the large volume of coconut milk (though it made it thicker with a nice flavour). I just added some salt and extra cumin and a bit of curry powder. Perfect! Will cook this again! Would be great just as a dish on its own with a nana or rice.
3rd Jun, 2019
Lots of good ingredients but tasted a little bland unfortunately. I try not to tweak recipes when I first make them to see how they turn out but I felt that I had to with this. There was no mention of salt that I could see in the recipe so I added that, also a veg stock cube and some dried chillies as the heat was a bit lacking. As a base for a dahl it was good, but I do think people will need to make a few additions.
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Komal Chevli's picture
Komal Chevli
30th Jan, 2019
You could pressure cook lentils for 3 whistles and it to chickpea and not need to add extra water in it. It will takes 15 mins and reduce time of cooking and it will be ready in 25-30 mins.
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