Cardamom and Coconut Dahl

Middle-Eastern food is fast becoming a firm favourite, both to eat and cook. With so many spices and flavours to choose from, it’s always fun to make. I’ve been trying to eat more things like lentils and this recipe calls for a huge helping of them.

I got some spices back from India too so I’m sure they’re far more flavoursome! Cumin seeds, coriander seeds and cardamom pods are all incredible flavours on their own. Together they create a beautifully layered flavour to your meal. Most of this stuff you can get from your local store. Inspired by Sabrina Ghayour and her fantastic book Feasts.


  • 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves crushed and diced
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 500g of lentils (I used red)
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 400ml can of coconut milk
  • 50g butter
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 6 baby tomatoes, diced
  • Small bunch of coriander, chopped


  1. Heat a large frying pan. When hot add the cumin, coriander seeds and cardamom pods. Toast for about 2 minutes. Be really careful not to burn them. When done pop into a pestle and mortar and crush. Try remove the outer husk from the cardamom as you do so.
  2. When ground add back to the pan with the oil and onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring so as not to burn.
  3. After 5 minutes add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
  4. Add the turmeric, mix well and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Throw in your lentils and coconut and mix well. Try to make sure the onion mixture coats all of the lentils. Then add the coconut milk. Top the pan with enough water to cover the lentils and allow to simmer for about 40 minutes. Keep an eye on it and stir regularly. You may need to add more water if it evaporates to quickly.
  6. Once the mixture is done (all water should be gone) mix in the butter.
  7. Serve topped with the tomato, coriander and some salt flakes.

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