Sri Lankan red lentils also known as Sri Lankan dhal curry with Cinnamon is an astoundingly tasty and more importantly a healthy dish. It has a creamy taste, an invigorating smell and a light refreshing taste profile. The magic is in the subtle use of spices.
What makes this dish unique is the infusion of mild yet aromatic Ceylon Cinnamon, which is thought to be good for everything from blood sugar control to arthritis. Ceylon Cinnamon never takes center stage but adds to a wonderfully complex flavor.
The coconut milk is self-indulgent but adds a creamy sophistication. Like the Lemon grass in this dish, fresh curry leaves add an exotic aroma and flavor. You have to try and find curry leaves to see what we mean. Indian stores in the US carry curry leaves in small packets which can be frozen. Fresh is much better of course.
Red lentils are high in protein with a fabulous taste. This is a dish that can be eaten with Rice, Bread, Pasta or Roti. But to make it taste great you must follow these sequence of instructions to the letter. All the ingredients are a must with the possible exception of the coconut milk, but that would still be a terrible omission.
In Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Times: 28 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 cup of Red Lentils
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 tsp. Turmeric Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Black Mustard Seeds
- 1 Ceylon Cinnamon Stick - 3 inch
- 1/2 tsp. Fenugreek Seed
- 1/2 tsp. Cumin powder
- 1 chopped Onion
- 1 tsp. Garlic paste
- 1/4 tsp. Ginger paste
- 10 Curry leaves (finely chopped)
- 1/2 can (2.3oz) Coconut Milk
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp. chili powder
- 1 finely chopped green chili
- Wash the Red Lentils until the water is clear and all the powdery residue has gone.
- Place the red Lentils in a cooking pan, add 2 cups of water, turmeric, 1 tsp. garlic, 1/4 tsp ginger paste, and 1 Ceylon Cinnamon Stick, cover with a lid and cook on medium heat until lentils are soft. Sometimes you may have to add extra 1/4-1/2 of water to the lentil, especially if you want a slightly watery Lentil or the water evaporates too quickly without cooking the lentils. 20-22 minutes to cook lentils. Open the lid quickly and stir occasionally so the lentils cook evenly.
- In a separate pan, add 1-2 tablespoon of vegetable coil and 1 tsp black mustard seeds and sauté for 2 minutes over medium heat.
- After two minutes add the Cumin powder, Fenugreek seeds and chopped curry leaves and sauté for 3 minutes or until the onions are brown
- Add the onion mixture to the cooked Red Lentil, add salt and mix well
- Add 1/2 small can (2.3oz) of coconut milk when the lentils are cooked and gently cook for another 5 minutes. Always add the coconut last because you don't want the coconut milk to overcook or boil and then lose its flavor. Squeeze half a lemon, which makes it pop even more.
- Serve with Rice, Bread or Pasta.
WHY CEYLON CINNAMON
Unlike ordinary Cassia Cinnamon you find in the stores, Ceylon Cinnamon has low Coumarin
levels, so it won't damage your liver, especially if you are a regular Cinnamon tea drinker. Besides Ceylon Cinnamon is mild, yet slightly sweeter. It's not spicy like store bought Cassia Cinnamon, but has hints of cloves and citrus with a wonderful subtle aroma.
Ceylon Cinnamon is subtle and adds to create a more complex flavors. You would never know there is Ceylon Cinnamon in this dish, unlike Cassia Cinnamon which tends to be harsh and immediately makes its presence felt and often ruins the recipe.