The fire-up breakfast dhal


Chef Emily Dobbs is bringing punchy Sri Lankan food to our tables. Here’s a perfect power-up dhal for breakfast, lunch or dinner

Sri Lankans run on dhal like we would bowls of porridge, and this fiery recipe from new book Weligama will rev up more than just your taste buds. On top of protein-rich lentils, the turmeric and cinnamon help to balance your blood sugar levels, while the chilli and mustard contain capsaicin, which is proven to boost your metabolism.

Serves 4-6

  • 350g red split lentils

  • 2 green chillies

  • 5cm pandan (if you have any)

  • ½ garlic head, cut horizontally with skin on

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

  • 1 shallot, peeled

  • 400ml coconut milk

  • 2 tsp sea salt

  • 175g spinach, washed

  • 1 tsp chilli powder

For the temper:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

  • Handful of curry leaves

To serve (optional):

  • Pol roti or flatbreads

  • Buffalo curd labneh or yoghurt

  • Crispy onions


  1. Soak the lentils in cold water while you get together the rest of your ingredients.

  2. Drain the lentils and transfer to a large pan with 800ml water, the whole green chillies, pandan, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon and shallot and simmer on a low heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk to the pan and cook for 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Then add the salt (you add it at the end as doing so beforehand prevents the lentils from cooking).

  3. Once the lentils are cooked, turn off the heat and fish out the pandan, garlic and shallot with tongs and discard. Add the spinach and chilli powder to the lentils.

  4. To make the temper, heat the oil in a small pan. Once it starts to smoke add the mustard seeds, quickly followed by the curry leaves. Pour into the dhal and serve with toppings and sides of your choice.

Weilgama front cover.jpg

Recipe extracted from Weligama by Emily Dobbs (Seven Dials, RRP £25)


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