Whole Masoor Recipe

dalinbowlPeople who know me well are aware of how obsessed I am with coconut in my food – and how the husband isn’t. So it was with great joy that I received a coconut from a priest at a temple in Wimbledon yesterday (no, sadly not Federer in SW9) only to realise with a sinking heart that in the absence of my mother and our cook I would have to deal with the scraping of it on my own.

I guess the coconut obsession is genetic – my maternal grandmother made delicious curries of all sorts – fish, potatoes, eggs – with a coconut base, my mother continued the tradition – and my sisters and I love the stuff.

So this morning I took out the world’s most dangerous contraption, custom-made by my mother in India and bravely started the job of scraping the insides of the coconut. Here is that the contraption looks like. coconut scraperVery proud of the end result here

CoconutAnd read on for the slightly complicated recipe – all worth it when you taste the stuff. It is absolutely awesome!

Recipe for whole Masoor Dal with a coconut base

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Whole Masoor Dal is very nutritious. Here it is made with a coconut base as is typical of the people of Western India.


  • 1/2 a scraped fresh coconut
  • 100g whole masoor dal (washed and drained)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 2 tsp. black masala powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp. sunflower oil
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander to garnish


When you are cooking dishes like this, always make sure that the onions are soft and brown when you fry them. Onions cooked in haste can really spoil the taste.


Preparing the coconut base
Step 1
Add the masala powder, turmeric and chilli powder to the scraped coconut.
Step 2
Divide the chopped onions into two portions.
Step 3
Heat up a little oil in a frying pan and add in one portion of chopped onions.
Step 4
When they are brown - add in the coconut and fry turning frequently until coconut is brown.
Step 5
Take this mixture and blend it in a mixer with half a cup of water to form a paste. Keep aside
Making the dal
Step 6
Heat up the oil in a saucepan and add in the dried red chilli, garlic and onions.
Step 7
When they are brown, add in the dal and two cups of hot water and the salt.
Step 8
Cook on simmer until the dal is soft (this should take about 15 minutes).
Step 9
Now add in the coconut paste and bring the dal to a boil.
Step 10
Garnish with coriander
Step 11
Serve hot with rice and yoghurt.