Spicy Coconut Red Lentil Dal

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Cozy up with this quick, easy, and tasty one-pot spicy coconut red lentil dal recipe made with simple ingredients along with the perfect blend of Indian spices. It makes a most delicious gluten-free, vegan dish best served alongside some basmati rice or naan bread. What’s more, you can make this easy dal on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot pressure cooker!

 Cozy up with this quick, easy, & tasty one pot spicy coconut dal made with red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, garlic, onion and the perfect blend of Indian spices. It makes a most delicious gluten-free, vegan dish served alongside some basmati rice or naan bread! #dal #dhal #daal #indianfood #curry #vegancurry #glutenfree #spicyfood #coconutcurry #redlentils
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Red lentils are a staple in our household and I’m always whipping up some version of a curried dal (dahl or daal)! And, most of all, it must be spicy! We love our spice. So if you’re a fan of curry or delicious Indian dishes in general, then this recipe reminiscent of a lentil soup is a must-try for you. 

 Cozy up with this quick, easy, & tasty one pot spicy coconut dal made with red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, garlic, onion and the perfect blend of Indian spices. It makes a most delicious gluten-free, vegan dish served alongside some basmati rice or naan bread! #dal #dhal #daal #indianfood #curry #vegancurry #glutenfree #spicyfood #coconutcurry #redlentils

Why You Will Love It

  • This red lentil dahl recipe is super easy to make.
  • You can have this dish on the table in only 40 minutes!
  • Hearty and filling.
  • Healthy and nutritious.
  • Truly creamy and comforting.
  • Filled with the perfect blend of spices for an amazing flavor profile.
  • You only need one pot for cooking, so clean-up is a breeze. 
  • Versatile! Can be paired with any grains or flatbreads of your choice. 
  • Tastes better as leftovers, since the flavors only continue to mature in time.
  • Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free.
 Cozy up with this quick, easy, & tasty one pot spicy coconut dal made with red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, garlic, onion and the perfect blend of Indian spices. It makes a most delicious gluten-free, vegan dish served alongside some basmati rice or naan bread! #dal #dhal #daal #indianfood #curry #vegancurry #glutenfree #spicyfood #coconutcurry #redlentils
 Cozy up with this quick, easy, & tasty one pot spicy coconut dal made with red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, garlic, onion and the perfect blend of Indian spices. It makes a most delicious gluten-free, vegan dish served alongside some basmati rice or naan bread! #dal #dhal #daal #indianfood #curry #vegancurry #glutenfree #spicyfood #coconutcurry #redlentils
 Cozy up with this quick, easy, & tasty one pot spicy coconut dal made with red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, garlic, onion and the perfect blend of Indian spices. It makes a most delicious gluten-free, vegan dish served alongside some basmati rice or naan bread! #dal #dhal #daal #indianfood #curry #vegancurry #glutenfree #spicyfood #coconutcurry #redlentils

Ingredient Notes

  • Coconut Oil: Used to saute the garlic and onion. 
  • White or Yellow Onion: Gives the dish a mellow and sweet flavor profile.
  • Garlic Cloves: Makes the dish more pungent and aromatic. 
  • Red Lentils: The main ingredient for this recipe. I do not recommend replacing them with any other kind of lentils. You can find these in Asian stores or order them online. 
  • Water: Used to boil the lentils.
    • You can use a low-sodium vegetable broth if preferred. 
  • Shredded Coconut: Adds a beautifully nutty flavor and some texture to the red lentil dal recipe. 
  • Coconut Sugar: Adds a bit of sweetness to the dish.
    • For a sugar-free version, the coconut sugar can be omitted or replaced with a sugar-free sweetener such as this one.
  • Curry Powder: Adds curry flavor and depth. 
  • Ground Turmeric: Gives the dish its lovely yellow color. 
  • Ground Cumin: A staple in many Indian dishes as it lends them a warm earthiness.
  • Red Chili Flakes: Adds a nice, spicy kick to the dal.
    • Use red chili powder, cayenne pepper, or fresh chiles if preferred. 
  • Ground Ginger: Gives a hint of spice to the dish. 
  • Ground Cinnamon: Lends a spicy-sweet flavor to the dal. 
  • Ground Nutmeg: Has a nice warm, spicy flavor that complements the other aromatics. 
  • Full Fat Coconut Milk: Adds some great creaminess to the dish.
    • Can be replaced with any dairy or non-dairy milk of your choice.
  • Diced Tomatoes: For added flavors.
    • Can be replaced with two freshly chopped tomatoes for similar results.
  • Sea Salt: Enhances the taste of the other ingredients and the dal in general. 
 Cozy up with this quick, easy, & tasty one pot spicy coconut dal made with red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, garlic, onion and the perfect blend of Indian spices. It makes a most delicious gluten-free, vegan dish served alongside some basmati rice or naan bread! #dal #dhal #daal #indianfood #curry #vegancurry #glutenfree #spicyfood #coconutcurry #redlentils

How to Make Spicy Coconut Red Lentil Dal Recipe

Stovetop Method

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large pan, pot, or deep skillet over medium heat.
  2. Saute garlic and onion in hot oil for a few minutes or until onions are clear and beginning to brown on edges.
  3. Turn heat to high and add lentils and water.
  4. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to simmer.
  5. Simmer the mixture for 25-30 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed.
  6. Stir in shredded coconut, coconut sugar, spices, coconut milk and tomatoes.
  7. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved.
  8. Salt to taste.
  9. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  10. Enjoy!

Instant Pot Method

  1. Turn on saute function on pressure cooker.
  2. Place oil, garlic and onion into pot. Saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Press ‘Cancel’.
  4. Stir in lentils, 2 cups water, coconut, sugar, spices, and tomatoes (omit the coconut milk!).
  5. Secure the lid and set on manual high pressure for 10 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 more minutes.
  6. Release the pressure and remove the lid.
  7. Stir in coconut milk. Salt to taste.
  8. Serve as is, or if you desire a thicker, creamier dal, press saute and saute until desired consistency. Keep in mind a dal will thicken as it cools.
  9. Serve and enjoy!
 Cozy up with this quick, easy, & tasty one pot spicy coconut dal made with red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, garlic, onion and the perfect blend of Indian spices. It makes a most delicious gluten-free, vegan dish served alongside some basmati rice or naan bread! #dal #dhal #daal #indianfood #curry #vegancurry #glutenfree #spicyfood #coconutcurry #redlentils
 Cozy up with this quick, easy, & tasty one pot spicy coconut dal made with red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, garlic, onion and the perfect blend of Indian spices. It makes a most delicious gluten-free, vegan dish served alongside some basmati rice or naan bread! #dal #dhal #daal #indianfood #curry #vegancurry #glutenfree #spicyfood #coconutcurry #redlentils

Top Tips

  • Like a lot of spice? Bump the red chili flakes up to 3/4 teaspoon.
  • Not a fan of spicy? Cut down or omit the red chili flakes.
  • Add garnishes like cilantro leaves, green onions, or coconut flakes to make the dish more presentable.
  • For the best flavor, opt for fresh spices, herbs, and aromatics. Freshly grated ginger and minced garlic add a punch that powdered versions can’t match.
  • Red lentils cook quickly and can easily turn mushy. Cook them until they’re tender but still hold their shape.
 Cozy up with this quick, easy, & tasty one pot spicy coconut dal made with red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, garlic, onion and the perfect blend of Indian spices. It makes a most delicious gluten-free, vegan dish served alongside some basmati rice or naan bread! #dal #dhal #daal #indianfood #curry #vegancurry #glutenfree #spicyfood #coconutcurry #redlentils

Serving Ideas

  • Served with grains and bread: This dal recipe does well when served alongside rice, quinoa, millet, or any bread of choice, even childa.
  • Topped with vegetables like shredded cabbage, kale, or spinach.
  • Sprinkled with coriander and sliced chiles. 
  • Veggie side dishes like Bok Choy or Cabbage Steaks
  • A drizzle of green mint chutney.
 Cozy up with this quick, easy, & tasty one pot spicy coconut dal made with red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, garlic, onion and the perfect blend of Indian spices. It makes a most delicious gluten-free, vegan dish served alongside some basmati rice or naan bread! #dal #dhal #daal #indianfood #curry #vegancurry #glutenfree #spicyfood #coconutcurry #redlentils
 Cozy up with this quick, easy, & tasty one pot spicy coconut dal made with red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, garlic, onion and the perfect blend of Indian spices. It makes a most delicious gluten-free, vegan dish served alongside some basmati rice or naan bread! #dal #dhal #daal #indianfood #curry #vegancurry #glutenfree #spicyfood #coconutcurry #redlentils

Storage and Reheating

Store leftover dhal in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

If serving, reheat on the stovetop over low heat, stirring frequently until warmed throughout. If the dish has become a bit dry, add vegetable broth to loosen it.

More Vegan Indian Dishes You Might Enjoy:

Spicy Kale & Potato Curry

Instant Pot Red Lentil & Potato Curry

Easy Baked Vegan Gluten-Free Samosas

Sweet Potato And Cauliflower Rice Coconut Curry

Coconut Chickpea Curry

 Cozy up with this quick, easy, & tasty one pot spicy coconut dal made with red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, garlic, onion and the perfect blend of Indian spices. It makes a most delicious gluten-free, vegan dish served alongside some basmati rice or naan bread! #dal #dhal #daal #indianfood #curry #vegancurry #glutenfree #spicyfood #coconutcurry #redlentils

This delicious dahl dish is truly a comforting and delicious staple of ours that could not be easier to make! We hope you love it, too. Enjoy!

 Cozy up with this quick, easy, & tasty one pot spicy coconut dal made with red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, garlic, onion and the perfect blend of Indian spices. It makes a most delicious gluten-free, vegan dish served alongside some basmati rice or naan bread! #dal #dhal #daal #indianfood #curry #vegancurry #glutenfree #spicyfood #coconutcurry #redlentils
a white bowl with orange vegan dal and white rice on a yellow napkin cookie sheet background

Spicy Coconut Red Lentil Dal (Instant Pot + Stovetop)

Cozy up with this quick, easy, & tasty one pot spicy coconut red lentil dahl that is made with red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, garlic, onion and the perfect blend of Indian spices. It makes a most delicious gluten-free, vegan dish served alongside some basmati rice or naan bread! You can make this easy dal in the Instant Pot pressure cooker or on the stovetop!
4.54 from 80 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entrées, Instant Pot, Sides
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Kristen Wood

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup red lentils dry
  • 3 cups water 2 cups for Instant Pot
  • 1 tbs shredded coconut
  • 1 tbs coconut sugar
  • 1 tbs curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 400 mL can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • to taste sea salt

Instructions

  • Stovetop Method
  • Heat coconut oil in a large pot or deep skillet over medium heat.
  • Saute onion and garlic for 5 minutes or until onions are clear and beginning to brown on edges.
  • Turn heat to high and add lentils and water.
  • Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to simmer.
  • Simmer for 25-30 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed.
  • Stir in shredded coconut, coconut sugar, spices, coconut milk and tomatoes.
  • Simmer over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  • Enjoy!
  • Instant Pot Method
  • Turn on saute function on pressure cooker.
  • Place oil, garlic and onion into pot. Saute for 5 minutes.
  • Press ‘Cancel’.
  • Stir in lentils, 2 cups water, coconut, sugar, spices, and tomatoes (omit the coconut milk!).
  • Secure the lid and set on manual high pressure for 10 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 more minutes.
  • Release the pressure and remove the lid.
  • Stir in coconut milk. Salt to taste.
  • Serve as is, or if you desire a thicker, creamier dal, press saute and saute until desired consistency. Keep in mind a dal will thicken as it cools.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Please see the ‘Tips’ section above in the post for more information.
You might also love our Adzuki Bean Coconut Curry, collection of Cheap Vegetarian Meals or Aubergine Curry!
Also see: 35 Best Coconut Milk Recipes.
This is excellent served alongside childa!

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 366kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 416mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 8g
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Recipe Rating




 

30 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Really really good! I use the instant pot method. 20 mins to table! Would have given 5 stars but for some reason would not highlight last star.

  2. 5 stars
    So easy and delicious! Looking forward to making it numerous times, maybe adding some extra veggies. Very yummy!!

  3. 5 stars
    Myself, friends and family absolutely love this recipe, I’ve been making variations on it for at least a year now. Usually adding extra veggies like potato, sweet potato, bell peppers, carrot, squash etc. I really like to make oven roasted spaghetti squash instead of rice as a side.
    Sometimes I’ll blend the whole thing, other times just keeping it as is. Thanks for sharing!!!

  4. 5 stars
    My husband said he wanted to learn to cook and to use the Instant Pot. I found this recipe and said this will be delicious and easy. It was both! Now he feels like, yes I CAN cook! Usually, I change a recipe around but I kept this exactly how you wrote it…he .used every ingredient and measurement! Great…thanks!

      1. For Instant Pot it calls for 2 cups water but in the directions it says 6. Which amount to use? I think I used 2, but I can’t remember now.

        1. Hi Monica..sorry for any confusion. I do not see where you are seeing 6 cups. But it is 2 cups for Instant Pot and 3 cups for the stovetop. I will add a note in the ingredients list to make the IP amount more noticeable. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

  5. 5 stars
    This was delicious and so easy to make. I used fire roasted tomatoes because that’s what I had on hand. I used a pinch of stevia extract. I served it with Quinoa and it was a hit.
    Thank you for the recipe

  6. 5 stars
    Ohhh myyyyy goodness is this recipe amazing! I reduced the curry bc it’s not typically my favorite flavor and used regular sugar. It turned out to be so good. This will go into my rotation!

  7. Simply delicious! I am trying to cook gluten, dairy free and vegan meals as more and more friends and family are intolerant to one or another. Thank you!

  8. I love this recipe. It is delicious. Yes. Definitely salt according to your taste and after that, it should be splendid! I wish I had doubled the recipe. I omitted the tomatoes because I don’t like cooked tomatoes; however, I added a little tomato paste. I made this recipe as a last minute addition to my NYE’s feast and I am so glad I did!

  9. This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it! Do you need to soak the lentils ahead of time?

  10. This recipe is really delicious! I always leave a comment on a recipe when I’ve returned two or three times to make it. I didn’t have coconut sugar so I used regular granulated sugar, and used fresh ginger while sautéing the onion & garlic. (It’s what I had on hand…) So delicious! Love this on rice with fresh cilantro.. thank you for sharing