Red Lentil Dal with Coconut Milk and Kale

Serving Size: 6
Prep Time:
Total Time:

Bloggers Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley serve these creamy, superflavorful lentils with vibrant toppings: spice-cooked onions, red chiles and chopped cilantro.


  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • salt
  • 1.5 tsp fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
  • 0.5 Pound kale, stemmed and leaves coarsely chopped (4 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro stems, plus chopped leaves for garnish
  • 2 cup red lentils, picked over (13 ounces)
  • 1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 Quart chicken stock or broth
  • 2 small fresh red chiles, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • pepper


  1. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil. Add the cumin, fennel and turmeric and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and half of the sliced chiles and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Spoon half of the spiced onion mixture into a small bowl and reserve.
  2. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, red lentils and cilantro stems to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the kale and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon the dal into bowls. Top with the reserved onion mixture and the remaining sliced chiles. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with lemon wedges.

Make Ahead: The dal can be refrigerated for 2 days. Reheat gently, adding more water if necessary to help thin it out.

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Recipe Credit: Jasmine Hemsley and Melissa Hemsley
Image Credit: Nicholas Hopper