The Food Fox’s recipe for Dhal coconut curry with aubergine and spinach

This recipe was provided by Ilse van der Merwe of The Food Fox in our recent FaithfulFood Challenge.

I cook spicy Indian-style dhal at home often, and I’ll give my left arm for a good coconut-based curry any day. This dish won’t only excite vegetarians, but meat eaters as well. The dhal visually resembles mince meat, almost to the point where I want to buy a loaf of white bread and make a curry bunny. The coconut milk lends a delicate sweetness to the curry and the nuts add the necessary texture. Packed with protein, iron and flavour, it’s a delicious meal for the whole family.

I also learned an important lesson: although some of the organic pantry ingredients might seem a little pricey, you’ll be surprised to see how much money you’ll “save” by not including expensive meat cuts into your meal. Use that extra budget to make sure you buy the best organic pantry staples and spoil yourself with extras like nuts and chocolate spreads – perfect for an after-dinner treat.


Serves 6

500 g organic red lentils
45 ml coconut oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 large aubergine, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
A 5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
15 ml mild curry powder
15 ml garam masala
10 ml ground coriander
10 ml ground turmeric
2 cans organic coconut milk
Salt to taste
Small bunch of baby spinach
Handful of cashew nuts, roughly chopped
Handful of coriander, to serve (optional)
Cooked basmati rice, to serve

For the sambal
2 large slices of organic pineapple, diced
250 g organic cherry/rosa tomatoes, halved
½ an organic red onion, finely chopped
Handful of organic coriander leaves, chopped
Squeeze of organic lemon juice
Small pinch of salt


To make the sambal
1. Mix all the ingredients together, then serve at once with the curry.

To make the curry
1. Rinse the lentils, then place them in a large pot and cover with water (about 5 cm above the lentils).
2. Bring to the boil, then cook until just tender – about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain in a colander. Set aside.
3. In a large, wide pan or pot, heat the oil over high heat. Fry the onions and aubergines until golden brown, then add the garlic, ginger and spices.
4. Fry for another 2 minutes, stirring, then add the coconut milk and bring to a boil.
5. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered, then add the cooked lentils and stir to mix. Cook for a further 2 minutes, then season generously with salt (to taste).
6. Remove from the heat, then stir in the baby spinach and top with the cashews. Serve hot with basmati rice (and coriander leaves, optionally).

For organic fresh produce in the Stellenbosch area, try the following suppliers

Vredenhof Organic Estate – they supply to various supermarkets
The Green Road – they also have a market stall at the Stellenbosch Slow Market


  • Lyanne Naiker
    Posted at 07:49h, 24 October Reply

    nothing like dhall curry to soothe my soul

  • Melissa Fuhner
    Posted at 19:52h, 13 November Reply

    I tried this and it is such a beautiful, hearty dhal! Thank you!

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