Stir-fried Bengal gram with coconut

Stir-fried Bengal gram with coconut

Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast
Emma Lee

Not all lentils have to be cooked to a mush or in a curry. In fact, there are plenty of Indian lentil dishes which are just lightly spiced or flavoured and have no sauce. This easy stir-fry showcases the texture of these great, large yellow lentils. You just need to soak them well in advance, which will really cut the cooking time. These are delicious, really moreish and good with both rice and Indian breads.


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2/3 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1-2 dried red chillies, broken in half
8-10 curry leaves
1/2 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
100g bengal gram, washed well and soaked overnight
salt, to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons fresh coconut, grated
or 2 rounded tablespoons desiccated coconut


  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the seeds, chillies and curry leaves. Once the seeds have popped and the cumin has darkened, add the onion. Stir-fry for two to three minutes, then add the garlic. Sauté over a gentle flame until the garlic starts to take colour. Add the turmeric with a small splash of water and cook until the pan is dry.
  2. Drain, add the soaked lentils and salt and give them a little stir in the pan. Add some hot water from the kettle, bring to a boil, and simmer for five to 15 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still retain their shape. (How long they take depends both on how long they were soaked and how old the lentils are, but they can cook very quickly.) If they are still hard, add a little more water and cook a little longer.
  3. Once they are done, stir in the lemon juice, taste and adjust the seasoning, add the coconut and serve.
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