Rainbow Veggie Coconut Dal

by | Aug 8, 2018 | 16 comments

It is a bloody miracle that I haven’t shared a dal recipe on the blog for a while now, considering I am cooking dals every week (much to my boys annoyance!). The last time I shared some delicious wholesome dal recipes, I received so many messages asking for more. Who knew, cheap dal dinners was a regular old thing – and not just in my home! So today, I am sharing another of my this-is-the-dal-i-want-to-eat-everyday obsessions. A Rainbow Veggie Coconut Dal. Mmm I feel nourished just rolling that name off my tongue.

Rainbow Veggie Coconut Dal - Cook Republic #recipe #healthyrecipe #vegan #glutenfree #vegetarian #foodphotography

The story behind this dal is quite interesting. Since giving up dairy a year ago and basically taking stock of his own food and educating himself on what good food does to his body (I am so proud of you darling!), Nick became a regular at this health food market/store/cafe close to his workplace. He had a new lunch time hobby. Scouring the aisles and deli section at this cafe for a wholesome treat or afternoon snack. If I was lucky, he’d save me some and I would get a taste when he came back home in the evening. Most days though, I only heard rave reviews about what he had eaten.

On the rare occasions that he couldn’t pack his own lunch at home (because I needed to either shoot it or we had just finished everything after a massive leftover night!), he would grab a delicious hot vegan lunch at this cafe. A serving of quinoa or brown rice with the choice of aromatic, healthy curries. There was this particular dal that he loved so much, that he brought home a container for me to try out. It was called Rainbow Veggie Dal. And it was delicious, my only critique being that they had gone a bit heavy handed with the turmeric which rendered it a tad bitter. (There is such a thing as too much turmeric!)

Rainbow Veggie Coconut Dal - Cook Republic #recipe #healthyrecipe #vegan #glutenfree #vegetarian #foodphotography

Anyways, life went on until one day Nick told me that his beloved cafe had changed ownership and that Rainbow Veggie Dal was no longer on the menu. Now, it is a good thing that I am a hoarder because I had saved that tall dal container from when he brought home the dal (I don’t know why!! It had a cute shape?). And on it was a little nutritional information tag that listed the ingredients. So, began a week long experimentation project. All the ingredients but in the right quantities to get an even better tasting dal with that perfect texture. It worked and he was delighted and I was secretly happy that I could make it anytime I wanted!!

This Veggie Coconut Dal is absolutely gorgeous to look at and packed with delicate but complex flavours. And filled to the brim with veggies. The exact sequence of adding the ingredients is important to get the right texture. It is a very clever dal as the creamy base with a touch of sweetness is formed as a result of the pumpkin simmering and breaking down. I soak my chana dal (which is basically hulled split chickpeas) for at least 4-5 hours in cold water, as this makes the dal very easy to digest. No one likes a tummy ache after a delicious meal. If you can soak it overnight, even better.

Rainbow Veggie Coconut Dal - Cook Republic #recipe #healthyrecipe #vegan #glutenfree #vegetarian #foodphotography Rainbow Veggie Coconut Dal - Cook Republic #recipe #healthyrecipe #vegan #glutenfree #vegetarian #foodphotography

The veggie coconut dal freezes really well and so makes it on my weekly meal-prep list quite regularly. It is wonderful to soak up with a good sourdough or fresh rotis. It is nice on steamed rice as well. If you thin it some more, you could enjoy it as a hearty chickpea and veggie soup. Absolutely versatile! So give it a go and leave me a comment/rating to tell me what you think. Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram with #cookrepublic if you share a picture. Enjoy my lovelies! x



Rainbow Veggie Coconut Dal - Cook Republic #recipe #healthyrecipe #vegan #glutenfree #vegetarian #foodphotography


4.8 from 10 votes
TESTED - 4 Times
Print Recipe Rate / Comment
Course // Dinner
Cuisine // Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 220 g (1 cups) chana dal (split chickpea)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 small zucchini, cubed
  • 1 cup pumpkin, diced
  • ¼ cup split red lentils, masoor daal
  • 1 x 400g can light coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground red chilli
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
  • 300 ml water
  • coriander leaves and sesame seeds, to garnish


  • Rinse the chana dal several times and drain.
  • Soak chana dal in a bowl with enough cold water to cover it. Soak for at least 4-5 hours or overnight.
  • Heat olive oil in a deep saucepan or casserole pot (2-3 litre capacity) on medium. Add garlic, ginger, onion, fennel seed, mustard seed and coriander seed. Sauté for a few minutes, tossing constantly until onions starts caramelizing.
  • Add carrot, potato, cauliflower, zucchini and pumpkin. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for approximately 6-8 minutes until vegetables are glazed and turning a shade darker.
  • Add the soaked chana dal (along with soaking water) to the pot with the vegetables. Mix well.
  • Add split red lentils, coconut milk, spices, salt and water. Mix well. Increase heat to medium. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. If starting to thicken rapidly, add half a cup of water, reduce heat slightly and continue simmering until veggies are done and chana dal is cooked but has a firm bite.
  • Serve hot garnished with freshly chopped coriander leaves and sesame seeds on a bed of steamed rice.
  • Serve with sliced red onions that have been soaked in cold water (for at least 10 minutes) and drained (this helps make them sweeter) and sliced lime.


You don't have to add the split red lentils but I find that it makes the base of the dal even more luscious.
Did you make my recipe?I'd love to hear how you went! Tag me on Instagram @cookrepublic




I love creating easy, vibrant, fresh, everyday recipes and taking gorgeous photos of the food I cook. I have been blogging for 15 years and I have also written a book with over 100 new recipes. If you make a recipe from the blog, Tag @cookrepublic on Instagram. I would love to see!


  1. Eha

    5 stars
    A huge ‘yes’ from me . . . make lots od dhal also but this reads and looks very special. Have not made one with both chickpeas and lentils nor used quite such a plethora of spices! Can’t wait to get out of ‘flu bed’ and into the kitchen . . .

  2. Cristo

    5 stars
    I make lots of Indian food. Homemade Indian food is better than anything you can get in any Indian restaurant. I think it has something to do with expenses. Top quality everything (meats, veggies, spices, etc.) equates to some remarkably delicious dishes! I will make this dal dish, but I have a question…what do you mean by pumpkin? What EXACTLY do you mean by pumkpin? Will other gourds do? What is not recommended? What did you use? Thank in advance for the clarification…

    • Sneh

      Cristo, I used a Jap pumpkin (bright orange and sweet) this time around. But I have also used Butternut Squash and it has the same effect. In Australia we are blessed because we can buy pumpkins pretty much throughout the year. If you can’t find pumpkin, sweet potatoes are also very good. Basically you are looking for something that cooks quickly, breaks down into a purée and has a touch of sweetness. Hope that helps!


    I never liked daal that much and even today it’s not exactly my first preference unless am really craving for a bowl. Arvind on the other hand LOVES daal. So am definitely going to make this for him 🙂

  4. Emily

    5 stars
    Yum! I so enjoyed this dish! It wasn’t overly ambitious or time-consuming (as some dal and curries can be). Particularly enjoyed the bursts of flavour from the coriander seeds, and the soaked onion on top added a nice crisp touch. Mellow but lively. Looking forward to enjoying it again through the week as leftovers.

  5. Elly

    Thank you for the recipe -I have been looking for some new dahl & vegetable options. Any suggestions for a replacement for the coconut milk – we have 2 in the family that don’t tolerate coconut.

    • Sneh

      Hi Elly, keeping the recipe still vegan; you could substitute with this cashew cream (1 cup) and a cup of water to thin it down. I suppose it would taste amazing. Otherwise just a thick homemade cashew milk would work too (soak 1 cup cashew in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain. Blend soaked cashews in blender with 2 cups cold water and a pinch of salt. Strain through a nut milk bag or fine sieve). Cashew cream or milk will give you that rich creaminess with a touch of sweetness that coconut would give. x

  6. Petra

    5 stars
    All the family loved this, really tasty. Thank you, for sharing Sneh.

  7. Lyne

    5 stars
    Really yum. Cooked for some Indian friends and they loved it

  8. Sonya

    3 stars
    Hi there
    This looks yum I often make traditional Indian Channa dahl but its always good to have a different version.
    However, I was of the understanding that you always need to drain pulses after soaking as otherwise it gives you gas/sore tummy. How much fresh water should I add if I drain the soaked Channa dahl?

    • Sneh

      5 stars
      Sonya, you have heard right. Although that is not entirely true. For example in this recipe, the amount of soaking water used is barely enough to plump up the chana dal. So at the end of it, when you are ready to use the dal there might be no soaking water or just about a tablespoon or two. What is most important is to wash, rinse and drain the dried dal several times which removes surface impurities especially if not using organic. I have been cooking this way for many years and it never causes any tummy soreness or upset. The spices used in the recipe counteract all negative effects that lentils/beans might have on some people. However, if you are concerned then absolutely drain the soaking water. In this case you don’t really need to add any more water (only towards the end of the cooking process if you feel the dal needs loosening) 🙂 x

  9. Jan

    5 stars
    Loved this dal recipe. Great way to pack in the veg into one curry and so different to our usual Tamil Sri Lankan “parappu”. Definitely worth using the recommended lite coconut milk – the full fat coconut milk was a little too creamy.

    Sneh, would you add coconut juice to make it a little lighter?

    • Sneh

      Thanks for your lovely feedback Janani. Do you mean coconut water to thin the Dal out?? Yes, that would be quite nice. You could also use some veggie stock. x

  10. Sandy

    5 stars
    Making this for about the 4th time. To cater for the heat averse of the family I leave out the chilli And then serve with fresh chopped chilli to sprinkle. Always delicious, and makes a fabulous lunch too! Thanks for the recipe!!

  11. Arun Sengupta

    This was such a lovely recipe to try out and the funny part is that I am not even a good cook, I am just trying this for my wife during lockdown, and really enjoyed the process and the step by step recipe really helped me go through it :). Much appreciation from India, and thank you for posting such awesome blogs with beautiful images (drool dripping down :P).
    Hope to try out more in the near future.
    Stay Safe !!!

  12. tay

    5 stars
    Came out very well. I had to leave out the pumpkins as i didn’t have at home. Thanks for posting!



  1. Salted Chocolate Chip Spelt Cookies - Cook Republic - […] Year Ago – RAINBOW VEGGIE COCONUT DAAL Two Years Ago – FRESH CRISPY SALMON BURRITO BOWLS Three Years Ago…
  2. Tomato Garlic Dal - Cook Republic - […] an active campaign to cook and experiment with new dals every week. Starting with this amazing Rainbow Veggie Coconut…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating