Lemon and Coconut Tadka Dal

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Dal is a favourite of mine, I have blogged about it more than once. Sometimes as a whole meal with egg (you know I love them), often with tadka (a perky mixture of spice and aromatics), always a cheerful sunshine yellow (although I am partial to a black spiced dal makhani too swirled with a little cream and I will share more on that soon). 

This dal is cheerful and elegant with lemon and coconut. It is one to make in a big pot for friends for a summer weekend lunch, or one to make and store in the fridge for comfort, or in the freezer for a later date. I must have had four bowls of this. I don’t bother soaking the dal, which means it takes longer to cook it, but it will still be done in 40 minutes. And it just cooks away, right? It needs little attention. 

Tadka refers to the mixture of spices and other gorgeousness placed on top of the dal. Also called tarka, it translates as tempering. To temper spices is to enliven them and wake their oils, and therefore flavour, by introducing heat to them. 

Are you a fan of dal? How do you like yours? 

Other favourite spice recipes you should try:

Pumpkin & Coconut Tadka Dal

Cardamom and Turmeric Chicken Curry

A Dal to Stay at Home For (with Curry Leaves, Mustard, Chilli & Tomato)

Kapitan Chicken (Malay Chicken Curry)

Recipe: Siri’s Thai Seafood Green Curry Recipe Step by Step with Photos

Crisp Spiced Chana Dal (Recipe for Healthy Snacking)

Recipe: To Dal, Daal, Dhal, or Dahl, that is the question


Lemon and Coconut Tadka Dal
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Lemon and Coconut Tadka Dal


  • 300g dal (I used toor dal)
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 250ml coconut milk
  • the juice of one lemon
  • one onion, cut in half, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 inch of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • two tomatoes, cut into dice
  • 1 fresh chilli, finely chopped (seeds excluded if you want to reduce the heat)
  • a handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil
  • sea salt & black pepper


  • Start by covering your dal with water in the pot that you will cook it in, so that there is an inch of water above the pulses. Add the turmeric and a good pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat. Allow to cook gently, adding extra water if it looks like it is getting too dry.
  • As the dal starts to soften (after about 15 - 20 minutes), add the coconut milk and bring to just before the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to cook until the dal is soft but still retains a little bite. This will depend on the size of the dal you use. Add the lemon juice and season to taste.
  • While the dal is cooking prepare the tadka (tempering the spice mixture). Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion. Fry over a low heat for about 5 minutes until softening (you want it to brown a little bit). Add the cumin seeds, garlic, ginger, chilli. Stir through and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, and allow to cook over a low heat until the dal is ready.
  • Serve the dal in bowls with the tadka on top, slightly stirred through, and with a generous sprinkling of coriander.
  • https://eatlikeagirl.com/lemon-and-coconut-tadka-dal/



    Written by Niamh
    Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.