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An indispensable part of the Indian diet for centuries, dal is an earthy, warming, and accessible comfort food now beloved around the world.

Our coconut dal recipe is topped with eggplant. We recommend using the sweeter, smaller Italian variety, which will roast more easily. Be sure to do your vegetable prepping ahead of time so you can begin roasting at the same time you start cooking your lentils. Served with yogurt and cilantro, it’s somehow both creamy and fresh–we can’t get enough of it.

How to Make It

Difficulty: Easy

Overall Time: 1 hr 15 min

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 50 min

Serves: 4

  • 3 small Italian eggplant, about 1 lb (454 g), quartered and cut into 1-in pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 (13 ½ oz/400 mL) can coconut milk
  • Yogurt, cilantro, red chili, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss eggplant with oil and ½ tsp salt on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Season with pepper. Roast until deeply golden, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, ginger, and mustard seeds. Cook, stirring often, until shallots are soft, about 2 to 4 minutes. Add garam masala and turmeric, stirring continuously for 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste for 1 minute. Stir in lentils, then water, coconut milk, and remaining 1 ½ tsp salt. Boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are just tender and mixture has thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. To serve, divide lentils among 4 bowls. Top each with eggplant, then yogurt, cilantro, and chili. Serve with crusty bread or rice.
Coconut Dal with Roasted Eggplant by Casa de Suna
Coconut Dal with Roasted Eggplant by Casa de Suna; Five Nights of Fall Recipes

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