1 cup red lentils (masur dal), washed
3 – 4 cups water or mild stock
2 tablespoons canola oil
1½ tablespoons minced garlic or garlic mashed to a paste
¼ cup minced shallots or red onion
6–8 fresh or frozen curry leaves
1 dried red chile or more if you like
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1 cup canned or fresh coconut milk
1. Put the lentils in a medium pot with water or stock. The more liquid you add, the soupier the dish will be. I prefer a thicker dal so I add less liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and cook for 20 minutes. Keep warm over low heat.
2. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and toss in the garlic and shallots or onions and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
3. Add the curry leaves, red chile, and ground coriander, mix well, and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the salt and coconut milk. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Add this mixture to the hot lentils and simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Serve hot.
Adapted from Jeffry Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Mangoes & Curry Leaves