Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sri Lankan Parippu Mellun (Lentil and Coconut Curry)

Lentils are a favorite side dish with rice and curry meals.  I have eaten lentils in many ways, but my mother introduced me to lentils with coconut recently and I could not believe it was the first time I had such a wonderful way to eat lentils.  I love this lentil dish and actually ate it with rice and no other curries...I don't do that very often.  I felt like there was no need for any other curry because  this dish was so full of wonderful spice and flavor, nothing else was needed.  My entire family loved it, and when my daughter told me this was her favorite lentil dish of all time, I knew it was a keeper. 

To cook the lentils:
2 cups masoor lentils
3-4 cups water
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 small cinnamon stick
5-10 curry leaves (optional)
1 pandan leave (optional)

To fry lentils with coconut mellun:
1 cup dessicated coconut
1 onion sliced
2-3 green chilies sliced
1 Tbs mustard seeds
10-12 curry leaves(optional)
1-2 pandan leaves (optional)
3-5 dried red chilies (broken into small pieces)
1-2 tsp red chili powder
salt to taste
Wash lentils well in cold water until water runs clear.  If you see any stones, remove them.  Cook lentils in water with curry leaves, onions, turmeric, cinnamon stick and pandan leaves.  Do not over cook the lentils and make them mushy.  You want them to cooked until they are tender, but still able to see the individual lentil pieces.  Once lentils are finished cooking remove from stove.

In a separate pan, heat canola oil.  Then add curry leaves, onion, broken pieces of dried chilies, pandan leaves, mustard seeds, green chilies.  Once onions begin to soften, add dessicated coconut, salt and chili powder.
Then add the cooked lentils and mix well by stirring and mixing together without mashing lentils.   Note:  My mother actually turned a wooden spoon upside down and used the handle to make round circles to mix and incorporate all the ingredients together without mashing them.  Of course do this in a pan that will not get scratched up. Serve with rice.  Enjoy.

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