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red lentil with ceylon cinnamonMEDIA GALLERY
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Discover the art of making this tasty Sri Lankan red lentils recipe also known as Sri Lankan dhal curry with Ceylon Cinnamon. It has an invigorating aroma and a light refreshing creamy taste profile. The magic is in the subtle use of spices. It's not heavy like Indian curries which tend to be too spicy.

What makes this dish unique is the infusion of mild yet aromatic Ceylon Cinnamon which never takes center stage but adds to a wonderfully complex flavor. Each of the spices from the black mustard seeds to the curry leaves is well known to lower blood sugar levels, so consider that an addtional bonus.

The coconut milk is self-indulgent but adds a creamy sophistication. The curry leaves too 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 and very tasty especially in this combination. This is a dish that can be eaten with rice, bread, pasta, roti or even simply paired with a steak and vegetables. But to make it taste great you must follow these sequence of instructions to the letter.

In Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Times: 28 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Medium


  1. Wash the Red Lentils until the water is clear and all the powdery residue has gone. You will have to rinse it about 5 times.

  2. Place the red Lentils in a cooking pan, add 2 cups of water, 1/2 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. About 22 minutes. Sometimes you may have to add extra 1/4-1/2 cup of water to the lentil, especially if you want a slightly watery lentil or the water evaporates too quickly without cooking the lentils.

  3. Temper the onion mixture - In a small frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and heat it on medium heat. About 2 minutes. Then 1 tsp black mustard seeds and sauté for 2 minutes over medium heat. When the mustard seeds start to pop it is done. Then add the Cumin powder, Fenugreek seeds and chopped Curry leaves and sauté for 3 minutes or until the onions are brown.

  4. Immediately add the onion mixture to the still cooking red Lentils, add salt and mix well. You can add this later too, when the lentils are cooked. It is up to you.

  5. After 22 minutes, the lentils should be cooked with very little water left. Add 1/2 small can (2.3oz) of coconut cream and cook on low heat for another 3 minutes. Always add the coconut last because you don't want the coconut milk to overcook or boil and then lose its flavor. Finally squeeze half a lemon, which makes it even tastier.

  6. Serve with Rice, Bread or Pasta.


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.

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