Goan Dal (Indian style Lentil curry with coconut and black kokum)

Goan Dal (Indian style Lentil curry with coconut and black kokum) - thespiceadventuress.com

Goa – the most ‘tourisity’ place in India. Even I have visited Goa, as a tourist, and somehow the experience has not been the best for me. I liked the place, the beaches, the historical monuments, visit to the spice plantations, etc… but it was all through the eyes of a tourist without really imbibing or living the culture of the land. For me, the best kind of travel experience is when I get to understand and experience the culture, lifestyle and food of the region as a local. Only then does the experience become truly inspiring.

For us, this particular trip to Goa was more of a family time above anything else. Our son enjoyed it and that made the trip worthwhile in itself, but I would still like to go back someday and experience this beautiful land as it deserves to be. Unfortunately, no food photographs from the trip but here are a few of our favourite and memorable clicks…..


So, did u notice the dolphin??

Today’s dish is a lentil curry from Goa and is perfect for all seasons, especially for autumn and winter as it is hearty, comforting and also packed with protein. And like any typical Goan recipe, this dal also incorporates coconut and kokum (I used the black kokum variety but you can use the red one too). Mildly spiced, this rich and delicious Indian style lentil curry is perfect with steamed white rice or with Indian flat breads. Thin it out a bit and you can even enjoy it as a bowl of soup on these cold winter days.

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This is quite a versatile recipe where you can use any type of lentils you have at hand. Kokum is easily available at most Indian or Asian grocery stores but if you cannot find it, use tamarind paste instead. Coconut is a must as it lends the creamy texture to the dal.

So, let’s get cooking this warm and hearty Goan dal (Indian style lentil curry with coconut and kokum)

Recipe adapted from Veg Recipes of India



For the dal:

1. 2 cups yellow pigeon peas/toor dal – soaked for at least 2 hours
2. 1 tsp turmeric powder
3. 2 black kokum pieces – washed well (if you are using tamarind, add 1 tbsp tamarind paste)
4. salt – to taste

For the coconut paste:

5. 1 cup fresh grated coconut
6. 1 small onion or 2-3 shallots
7. 1 tbsp cumin seeds/jeera
8. 4-5 garlic cloves

For the tempering:

9. 1 tsp mustard seeds
10. 1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
11. 2-3 sprig of curry leaves
12. 2 cloves garlic, crushed lightly
13. 1 or 2 green chilies (optional) / dry red chilies can also be used instead of green chilies
14. a pinch or two of asafoetida
15. 2 tbsp coconut oil or ghee or any good vegetable oil
For the garnish:
16. Fresh coriander leaves, chopped


1. Pressure cook the toor dal with water, salt and turmeric for 3 or 4 whistles; open and mash well.
2. Blend to make a paste using the ingredients 5-8; you may use a little water to get a paste like consistency
3. To the cooked dal, add the coconut paste and the kokum pieces.
4. Add water to adjust consistency as required and season with salt. Bring to boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.
5. To prepare the tempering, heat oil in a pan, crackle the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, chillies and garlic. Saute till the garlic is lightly browned, switch off heat and add asafoetida.
6. Pour this over the hot dal and mix well.
7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice.

Note – Remove the kokum pieces after 1-2 hours as the flavour continues to seep in if the kokum if left inside which may end up making the dish sour and tart.




15 thoughts on “Goan Dal (Indian style Lentil curry with coconut and black kokum)

  1. Hi 🙂 i’m an amateur cook from Goa and this dal is my mom’s favorite so I want to surprise her. However, i want to boil the dal instead of steaming it in a pressure cooker (i want to cook quietly :D) so how long should i boil it for?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you are boiling it, then its completely by the feel; it would be hard to give a set time. Soak overnight so that it cooks faster but I reckon at least 30-40 minutes. You will have to keep an eye on it.


  2. I understand what you mean: you have not seen a place if you have not enjoyed and struggled with the people 🙂 At the same time your holiday looks like a lovely family time together!


    1. yes Afra, back then, it was just meant to be a family time. Now, I feel that I missed an opportunity to really see a place.


  3. Most vacations are memorable for the time we get with family and friends, more than the place we are at.

    I have been to Goa several times, but I finally connected with Goa when I went there with a family with roots in Goa. The touristy Goa is all fine, but there is another beautiful side to it. 🙂


  4. Hey DHanya, I remember having bucketfuls of this dal on numerous trips to Goa… Its hearty, warm and soulfull…Honestly, I didnt get around to trying it for some reason.. I guess i must… Nice post


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