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Dinner with Rukmini

Browse all of the recipes in Rukmini Iyer’s cookbooks by ingredient.

Lime and Coconut Dal

Rukmini Iyer's creamy, comforting one-tin dal is based on the recipe her mum makes and features plenty of fresh coconut and channa dal.

From the book


This dal is based on one that my mother makes, with fresh coconut chunks and bright yellow channa dal. Channa dal has an exceptionally nice texture and flavour, but requires soaking and a long stint in the pan, so this version substitutes the quicker cooking Egyptian red lentils. Roopa Gulati, another honorary food-mum, introduced me to the lime element – I can hands down say this is my favourite dal.

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140g red lentils, rinsed
1 scant tsp ground turmeric
1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
90g fresh coconut pieces, cut into 1cm cubes
200ml boiling water
1 clove of garlic, unpeeled
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp oil
3–4 big handfuls of baby leaf spinach
2 limes, juice and zest
sea salt flakes, to taste
To serve:
freshly cooked rice, naan bread or chapattis
lime wedges


Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/gas 6.

Tip the lentils, turmeric, coconut milk, coconut pieces, boiling water and garlic into a small roasting tin or lidded casserole dish. Mix the sliced onions, cumin and oil on your chopping board, then scatter them over the lentils. Cover tightly with foil or a lid, then transfer to the oven and cook for 45 minutes.

As soon as the dal is cooked, stir through the baby leaf spinach until it has just wilted. (I forgot to do this for the photograph opposite and accidentally put coriander on top, but don’t let that stop you.) Adjust the texture to your preferred consistency with a little boiling water. Stir in the lime juice and zest, taste and adjust the salt, and serve with rice, naan bread or chapattis and extra lime wedges for squeezing.

Note: You can find fresh coconut pieces in little packets in the chiller cabinet at the supermarket, next to the cut-up pineapple and melon, which I find easier than chopping up a whole coconut for such a small quantity

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From the book: The Roasting Tin Around The World

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