Lentil Stew with Coconut (Dalma)

  • Serves

    serves 4-6


In the east Indian state of Odisha, lentil stew is an everyday staple. This version, fragrant with fresh coconut and sweetened with long-simmered sweet potato, is based on one prepared at the Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha, which editor-in-chief James Oseland wrote about in Heavenly Meal, from our August/September 2014 special India issue.

Find this recipe in our cookbook, SAVEUR: Soups and Stews


  • 1 cup toor dal (yellow pigeon peas), rinsed, soaked 30 minutes, and drained
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 plum tomato, minced
  • 1 small Japanese eggplant, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 small Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • (1) 2 12" pieces ginger, peeled and mashed into a paste
  • 12 small daikon radish, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen grated coconut
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. asafoetida
  • 1 drumstick, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
  • 14 cup ghee
  • 1 12 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 small green Thai chile or 1/2 serrano, halved


Step 1

Bring dal and 8 cups water to a boil in a 6–qt. saucepan. Reduce heat to medium; stir in turmeric, carrot, tomato, eggplant, potatoes, ginger, daikon, and salt; cook until dal is mushy, about 45 minutes. Stir in coconut, sugar, asafoetida, and drumstick; cook until drumstick is tender, 20–25 minutes. Melt ghee in an 8" skillet over medium-high; cook cumin seeds and chile until seeds pop, 1–2 minutes; stir into stew.

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