Sweet coconut dal

by Jenny Chandler

A southern Indian-inspired pud to celebrate World Pulse Day

Soaking the dal (split and hulled pulses) will reduce the cooking time but is not essential.

For more on pulses—including a recipe for a starter and a main—read Jenny’s blog


250g mung dal (hulled and split mung beans) or, very unorthodox, red lentils
200ml coconut milk
100g muscovado sugar or jaggery
A good pinch of ground cardamom
25g ghee or butter
50g cashews or almonds (or both)


Place the split pulses in a dry pan and heat over a medium flame until they begin to smell a little bit toasty. Rinse the dal in a sieve.

Now you have options: you can leave the dal to soak in cold water for a few hours (this will cut the time in the pot by about a third) or alternatively get straight on to the cooking, placing the pulses back in the pan covered with about 1 pint of water.

Simmer the dal until it softens and collapses—I like to leave a little bit of texture, which will take anything between 30 mins to 1 hour. You are looking for a loose porridge consistency and may need to add a little water and give the pan the odd stir to stop anything sticking.

Once the dal is thick and creamy, stir in the coconut milk, the sugar (as much as you like, traditional versions tend to be very sweet) and the cardamom.

Heat the butter or ghee in a separate pan and fry the nuts until golden. Serve the dal warm, topped with the nuts and hot butter.  

Recipe: Jenny Chandler