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Creamy lentils with thyme and turmeric

I was looking for a good "dhal" and came across this recipe in my library. It was a delicate dish with an island twist, so I decided to try it.

The dish was really good and very simple to make! The lentils are cooked till they are broken down and creamy. The addition of yoghurt adds more creaminess and a hint of tartness to the dish. The combination of thyme and Indian spices is magical. The dal is subtle, mild flavours play on your palate, making this the perfect side dish for any meal.

This cookbook is unique on my bookshelf, it brings to me island flavours off the coast of Africa and India, a new dimension. This bright and fun cookbook enhances my table with the cuisine and culture of the Maldives and the surrounding islands from this region. A mix of beautiful flavours from India and Africa with a tropical twist makes every dish in this book amazing.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.


2 cups split green mung beans or brown lentils, soaked in 5 cups of water overnight

1 small bay leaf

3 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons oil

1 large onion, finely sliced

4-5 fresh thyme sprigs, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon ginger paste

3-4 garlic cloves, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds

Salt, to taste


Cilantro, minced for garnish

Rinse out the lentils and add to a pot with the bay leaf, water and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer open for 20-25 minutes till the lentils are well cooked. The lentils should be very soft.

Meanwhile, fry the onions on a low flame till they are very soft and translucent. Do not let them colour. Add the thyme, ginger and garlic and sauté for 1 minute till the ginger is cooked and no longer smells raw. Add the turmeric and cumin and give a quick stir. If the lentils are not ready set them aside taking care that the onions and spices do not burn.

When the lentils are done, add the onion mix into the lentils and mix in. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes to incorporate the flavours. If the water is low, add 1/4 cup, but you are looking for a thick curry so do not dilute the lentils to a runny consistency.

Cool the mix and mash the lentils slightly with a potato masher. If you are using a hand or regular blender, purée 3/4 of the lentils only. You are looking for a thick chunky consistency. Taste for salt and spice. This is a delicate curry with a wonderful aroma of turmeric.

Serve hot topped with yoghurt and some cilantro.

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