Kerala Parippu Curry (Dal)

Cold rainy afternoons call for comfort food. On my drive home, I decided to whip up some simple Kerala parippu curry (dal), rice, and some kind of vegetable side. Rummaging through my fridge, I found cauliflower, frozen broccoli florets, and frozen green peas, so I opted for a delicious and easy coconut curry using these veggies. I will share the vegetable coconut curry at another time because I didn’t really measure anything for that one today. I just kind of made it up as I went. However, I will share the daal recipe here if you’re looking for a quick, comforting, and healthy meal. Enjoy!


  • 1 cup toor dal (yellow dal) – rinse and then let sit in water to soak while preparing the other ingredients.
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 dried red chili peppers, whole
  • 2 fresh green chilies, split lengthwise in half*
  • 2 medium tomatoes, roughly diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder. Can use red Kashmiri chili powder which packs more color than spice.
  • Water
  • Coconut oil (or oil of your choice)
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1-2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
  • Curry leaves (kariapala) – optional

*Adjust the chilies according to your spice preference. The amounts used here were perfect for me, a South Indian with a high spice tolerance ;)


In a pressure cooker, heat 2 tbsp coconut oil (or oil of your choice) over medium heat.

Splatter mustard seeds (cover with lid so you don’t get splattered!) until popping stops.

Add dried red chilies and stir for 30 seconds or so.


Add onions, curry leaves, and a pinch of salt. Sauté.


After about 5-8 minutes of sautéing the onions, add the green chilies and sauté for about 1 minute.


Add tomatoes and stir well.


Add turmeric and red chili powder and stir well. Once the tomatoes have cooked down a bit (5 minutes), add the drained toor dal.



Mix well. Add enough water to just cover the ingredients. Place lid on pressure cooker.


Lower heat to low-medium and let cook for 2-3 whistles. Remove from heat.

Once all the pressure is released, open the pressure cooker and add the spinach. Let wilt.



Add salt to taste. This is delicious served over white rice (basmati, parboiled, or jasmine)! I also love to add a squeeze of lemon juice or a bit of ghee to give it extra flavor.

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