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Cynthia's Coconut Dal with Kale
Recipe by: by Cynthia Shanmugalingam, chef & author of Rambutan: Recipes from Sri Lanka
Excerpted from Rambutan: Recipes from Sri Lanka by Cynthia Shanmugalingam. Copyright © 2022. Available from Bloomsbury Publishing.
In war or other times of national crisis, dal is rationed out by the Sri Lankan government as one of life’s essentials. Cooked with lemongrass and, if you can get it, pandan leaf (which adds a warm, vanilla flavour) as well as coconut milk, turmeric, curry leaves, garlic and lime, this dal is distinctively light and restorative, and is worlds away from its Indian counterparts like black dal makhani made with cream, or tarka dal made with butter. There is no other dal quite like it, and I encourage you to try adding roasted squash or pumpkin or roasted sweet potato. This one is one of the ways my mum would cook it when she was too short on time to make a separate kale curry. She’d simply stir the leaves in very close to the end of cooking so they retained their bright green flavour and nutrients.