Coconut and chickpea dhal


This is a new and improved version of my coconut dhal recipe featuring added chickpeas for texture and taste plus toasted almonds and extra coconut cream.

The chickpeas were a really welcome addition, preventing the dhal from just being a completely homogenous porridge like texture. And the added almonds gave a little crunch and nuttiness. Textural improvements aside, this lentil dish also benefits greatly from the additional chilli I chose to add this time. I reckon creamy coconut requires a little punch to take it to the next level!



You will need:

1 tspn fennel seeds
1 tspn mustard seeds
1 tspn coriander seeds
8 cardamom pods
2 tspn ground turmeric
1 1/2 tspn ground cinnamon
4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped into quarters (remove skins first if desired)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 medium hot red chillies, finely chopped
500g red lentils
1 tin of cooked chickpeas, drained
400ml coconut milk
100g creamed coconut
100g freshly toasted almond flakes
approx 1 litre of water
groundnut oil, as needed


1 – Dry fry the whole spices for 1 minute until they crackle; grind to a powder using a pestle and mortar
2 – Heat a tablespoon of groundnut oil in a deep saucepan and tip in the onions and tomatoes when hot; fry for a few minutes until the tomatoes start to turn mushy, then add the freshly roasted and ground spices, remaining pre-ground spices, garlic, chilli and ginger
3 – Fry for a further few minutes before tipping in the lentils; stir then add the coconut milk and the coconut cream, plus the chickpeas and almonds
4 – Add around 500ml of the water and leave the mix to simmer for 30 minutes or so, until the lentils have broken down completely (you will need to stir frequently and add water throughout cooking, as needed. Probably at least another 500ml)
8 – Check your lentils; once they are soft and well cooked, with a texture like porridge (add extra water to loosen if needed), season generously with salt and serve as part of a curry banquet or just with a little naan or flatbread


4 thoughts on “Coconut and chickpea dhal

  1. Oh yummmm! I love chickpeas but for some reason I’ve never actually added them to dhal. The menu you mentioned in the pineapple chutney post sounds divine… these nutty, spiced legumes would be a perfect accompaniment to the lamb. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I’ll definitely be giving it a go soon! xx

    1. It was actually a request of my step dads to include chickpeas in something i was cooking, I thought id try them in the dhal and it worked nicely. It was a fantastic feast.. Oh that lamb..! X

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