Merrilees Parker presents a simple recipe for the classic Indian vegetarian lentil dish
By Merrilees Parker
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 300 g Puy lentils
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • bunches coriander, stalks finely chopped and leaves roughly chopped
  • 300 g coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 red chillies, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, seeds removed and finely cubed
  • 100 g spinach leaves, washed
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced


1. Put the lentils in a heavy-based saucepan with the ginger, half the asafoetida, the coriander stalks and a teaspoon of salt, then pour over 900ml water.

2. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Then whisk really hard. The mixture should then become a smooth consistency. If it is too thick then you can add a little more water. Leave bubbling while you get your spices ready.

3. Heat the oil in a small heavy-based frying pan. Add the remaining asafoetida, turmeric, cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, green chillies and curry leaves. Leave them to temper. The oil should be bubbling and the seeds popping. This will take about 30 seconds to a minute.

4. Stir straight into the lentils. The mixture will spit a bit but this is fine. Whisk again before stirring in the tomatoes, baby spinach, lemon juice and spring onions.

5. Check the seasoning. Finish each serving with a sprinkle of coriander and serve with steamed rice.

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