South Indian Lentils With Curry Leaves (Parippu Curry)

November 27, 2018 Updated: November 27, 2018

In North India, lentils are called dals, while in South India they are called parippu. While parippu can be made with various types of legumes, this recipe uses red split masoor lentils and holds to tradition by including curry leaves and coconut milk. I’ve adapted it for the slow cooker from one of my favorite Indian cookbooks, “A Little Taste of India.” This is hands down one of my favorite lentil preparations. I could eat fresh curry leaves every day. Masoor dal starts red but cooks to a yellow color.

Slow Cooker Size: 5-Quart
Cooking Time: 6 hours on high

Makes 11 cups 

  • 3 cups duhli masoor dal (split, dried, and skinned red lentils), picked over and washed
  • 1 1/2 medium yellow or red onion, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced or pureed
  • 2–4 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chili peppers, stems removed, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 15–20 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk

Put the dal, coarsely chopped onion, tomatoes, fresh chili peppers, cumin, coriander, turmeric, sea salt, and water in the slow cooker.

Cook on low for 5 1/2 hours.

Heat the ghee or oil over medium-high in a frying pan. Once hot, add cumin and mustard seeds. Cover and cook until the mustard seeds pop. Add the finely chopped onion and the curry leaves and fry, stirring constantly, until lightly browned. Be careful, as the leaves are delicate and can burn easily. Add to the slow cooker along with the coconut milk.

Stir and cook for another 30 minutes.

Serve over basmati or brown rice.

To make this dish in a 3 1/2-quart slow cooker, use 2 cups dal, 7 cups water, halve the other ingredients, and proceed with the recipe. Cook on high for 6 hours. A half recipe makes 8 cups.

Reprinted with permission from “The Indian Slow Cooker, Second Edition” by Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Surrey, November 2018.