The Little Cooking Pot started in 2013 as a tiny supper club, with the aim of bringing friends together around the table and sharing recipes. Over the years, it has slowly grown into a cookery and catering kitchen, creating fresh and seasonal food for events and evenings.
Aitana & Sarah's dishes are all vegan and vegetarian, and have been inspired by their travels. They both share the belief that good food has the power to bring people together and make a positive change in the world one meal at a time.
Their Sri Lankan Coconut & Cinnamon Dahl is one of their signature dishes and most requested recipes. They were taught this recipe by the Dias family who live in Haputale, the central hill country of Sri Lanka where Ceylon tea is grown.
INGREDIENTS, to serve 3-4
300g split red lentils
2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
3 tasty tomatoes, finely chopped
1-2 green chillies, finely chopped (optional)
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon of powdered turmeric
1 x 400g tin coconut milk
4 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
A handful curry leaves, fresh or dried (if you have them)
3 cloves garlic, peeled & finely grated
1 thumb ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 thumb of fresh turmeric, finely grated (optional)
Juice 1-2 limes
Pop the lentils in a large, heavy-bottomed pan with the onions, tomatoes, green chillies (if using), cinnamon stick and turmeric. Pour in 800 ml water along with the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, stirring often, until the lentils dissolve and turn creamy. This will take around 30 minutes. Add a little more water if needed. Once the lentils are cooked, turn off the heat and set aside. Now for the tempering, this is where all the flavour comes from.
Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan and add the cumin, mustard & fenugreek seeds. Fry the spices for 30 seconds or so, careful not to let them burn, as it'll add a bitter taste. Next add the curry leaves, garlic, ginger & turmeric. Gently stir, allowing the garlic to golden and the ginger to soften. It will smell fantastic.
Once cooked, pour the spices into the dahl and mix well. Add the lime juice, a few pinches of salt, mix again and have a taste. Add more lime, salt or chilli to suit your palette. Once you're ready to eat, ladle the dahl into bowls and top with whatever you fancy. We love to add toasted seeds, spring onions and chopped coriander. Dhal tastes even better the next day, that's if there's any left! We love to eat ours with soft flatbread & a tangy pickle.
Imagery and film by Louie Waller and Emilie Loiseleur.
A live tutorial by Aitana & Sarah from The Little Cooking Pot will be on the TOAST Instagram this Sunday, demonstrating this recipe.
We hope you enjoy this little guide on how to make Sri Lankan Coconut & Cinnamon Dahl. If you do make a dish, please share it on Instagram using the #TOASTtimetomake. We would love to see.