Butternut and kaffir lime dahl

When the cooler and earlier evenings set in, I start to favour more warming meals like curries, casseroles, and soup. This is a delicious vegetarian dahl (a mild lentil curry) with warming ginger and spices is perfect to take the edge of the cooler temperatures at the end of the day.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Lunch, Main
Servings 4
Calories 440 kcal
Dairy Free, Gluten Free


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • ginger 3cm piece peeled and grated or finely chopped
  • 2 small kaffir lime leaf or 1 large, tough central stem removed, finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon each ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, garam masala
  • 400 ml can coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup dried split red lentils
  • 500 g butternut peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 3 tomatoes roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground chilli optional
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 120 g spinach or silverbeet chopped (optional)

To serve

  • ½ cup natural unsweetened yoghurt use coconut yoghurt for dairy-free
  • ¼-½ cup coriander leaves and stalks
  • cup roasted cashew nuts chopped (optional)


  • Heat oil in a large fry pan or pot on medium heat, cook onion for 4-5 minutes until golden. Add garlic, ginger and kaffir lime and cook for 1 minute. Add another drizzle of oil and spices and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add about ¼ – ½ cup of the coconut milk and stir to prevent spices burning.
  • Stir in remaining coconut milk, tomato paste, water, lentils, butternut, tomatoes, chilli (if using), sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then cover partially and reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes, or until lentils and butternut are soft. Stir a few times during cooking to make sure lentils don’t burn and stick to bottom of the pan. Add a little extra water if it looks like it is drying out too much.
  • Stir spinach or silverbeet (if using) through dahl at the end, and season with lemon juice and more salt to taste if needed.
  • Garnish dahl with yoghurt, coriander and cashew nuts (optional), and serve with steamed rice.


Split red lentils are a staple in my kitchen during Autumn and Winter – a handful added to soups and curries makes the meal go further without much cost, and adds a healthy dose of soluble fibre, vitamins and minerals.
This dahl would be easy to serve dairy-free/vegan – just swap out the yoghurt for coconut yoghurt when you come to serve.