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Bengali Sweet and Sour Lentils

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“A very delicious dal to ring the changes. I tend to add less sugar than called for, but the degree of sweetness counteracting the tangy tamarind is a personal preference. Creamed coconut is sold in a firm block. Adapted from a recipe by Beverley Leblanc”
1hr 10mins

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Rinse lentils thoroughly under running water, and remove any foreign matter.
  2. Combine the lentils and water in a large pan (which has a lid) and bring to the boil, skimming off the foamy scum as necessary. When the scum has ceased rising to the surface, stir in the bay leaves, chilies, turmeric and asafoetida.
  3. With the lid half covering the pan, let the lentils simmer gently for around 40 minutes, or until tender and the water is absorbed.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or wok. Add the onion and ginger and saute, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the grated creamed coconut, green chili, sugar, tamarind paste, garam masala, cumin and coriander, and stir for around 1 minute.
  5. When the lentils are tender, add the sauteed coconut/spice mixture and stir around to mix thoroughly. Taste and add salt, as necessary, and extra sugar or tamarind as desired.
  6. Transfer the dal to a serving dish, drizzle the hot ghee over the top, and sprinkle with the garam masala and cilantro.

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