Sri Lankan Dal with Panchpuran Carrots & Onions

A little over a year ago I had an accident, which required an overnight in the hospital. After I got home, a dear friend brought over dinner so that I wouldn't have to worry about cooking for a few days. The dinner was his favorite dal recipe from Sri Lanka.

This is truly delicious comfort food. Of course, I've adapted the original recipe with a few Happy Belly After twists. If you don't feel industrious, skip the Panchpuran carrots & onions. Panchpuran is a mixture of five spices (nigella, cumin, fenugreek, yellow mustard, and fennel seeds) is available at Indian grocers. Purchase some naan and yogurt and you'll have a delicious dinner with pantry staples in less than an hour. Now that's something to smile about!

Sri Lankan Dal with Panchpuran Carrots & Onions

Make the Panchpuran carrots & onions – In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the Panchpuran and Aleppo chiles and cook for 1 minute until the seeds are aromatic. Add the red onion and sauté for 5-7 minutes until translucent and beginning to brown. Add the shredded carrots and continue cooking, stirring often, until the mixture is browned about 5 additional minutes. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm until the dal is ready.

Make the dal – In a large saucepan, heat the canola oil. Add the chopped onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, Fresno chili, mustard seeds, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking until the spices are fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the red lentils, fenugreek, and hot water and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Uncover and add the coconut milk and chopped tomato. Ladle into shallow bowls and garnish with the Panchpuran carrots & onions and chopped cilantro. Serve with cooked basmati rice, naan, and coconut yogurt

serves 6-8


  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp Panchpuran
  • 1 tsp dried Aleppo chilies
  • 1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of shredded carrots


  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped, about 1 cup
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red Fresno chili, seeded and minced
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp pink sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups red lentils
  • 4 cups of hot water
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek powder
  • 1 small can of coconut cream
  • 1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped


  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • cooked basmati rice
  • warm naan
  • plant-based yogurt