Malay-Style Dal Curry (Kari Dal)


I grew up in Malaysia, where I enjoyed cooking and eating local dishes every day.

Malay-style dal curry

Malay-style dal curry

Dal in Malay Cooking

Dal is a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine. The country of Malaysia, where I was born and raised, is a multi-ethnic nation that includes a significant Indian population. All of the communities in Malaysia share and link with each other in terms of food and culture. My father, for instance, used to work with the Indian community when he was young. He learned to speak Tamil and cook some typical dishes from them.

Dal Curry Is Perfect for the Cold Weather

The current weather makes me want to cook comfort food for my family. Recently, I opened the pantry and spotted some dal beans inside an airtight container. I thought dal curry would be delicious and perfect for the weather. I recommend serving dal curry with steamed rice or naan bread. Otherwise, you can treat it like a stew or soup and eat it on its own. Yummy!

Tips for Cooking Dal

An important tip before cooking dal curry is to make sure to soak the beans in the water overnight. It helps to soften the beans and reduce the cooking time. Trust me, if skip this step, it will take forever to cook. In the meantime, to make dal stew or soup, all you have to do is to make sure to add more water while the beans are cooking on the stove. You can also add heavy cream or coconut milk to make the texture rich and creamier.

If you have leftovers, save them in a container and store in the fridge. I love leftover curry, as the sauce will thicken over time. If I'm hungry for lunch, all I have to do is take it out and heat it up on a stove for a few minutes. I hope you will try this recipe and enjoy it as much as we do!


  • 1 1/2 cup dal beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 medium potato, cut into chunks
  • 2 small carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 inch ginger, sliced
  • 4-5 peeled anchovies (optional)
  • 2-star anises
  • 5 curry leaves
  • 4 dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Salt and sugar to the taste
  • 4-5 cups water (add more to make stew or soup)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. In a medium bowl, soak the dal beans in water overnight.
  2. Transfer the dal beans into a larger pot, add water until beans are covered, and let it boil over high heat.
  3. Once the water starts boiling, add the potatoes, and carrots into the pot.
  4. Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Use a spatula to mix and let the mixture boils for 15 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, heat a pan with vegetable oil on medium heat.
  6. Combine the cinnamon stick, shallots, garlic, ginger, anchovies, curry leaves, mustard seeds, dried red chilies, and star anise in the pan. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until they are fragrant. Turn the heat off.
  7. Combine the stir-fry mixture into the dal beans pot. Stir with a spatula until all is combined. (You can add heavy cream or coconut milk at this stage.)
  8. Add some salt and sugar, to taste.
  9. Let it simmer for another 20-30 minutes before turning the heat off.
  10. Place the dal curry into a serving bowl.
  11. Serve immediately with steamed rice or naan. Enjoy!

© 2019 Liza


Liza (author) from USA on October 25, 2019:

Thank you for your nice comment, Linda. I've been making comfort food for these past weeks. Curry such a warm and ideal dish for the cold weather :)

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 24, 2019:

This sounds like a lovely dish for autumn. I love the thought of making the curry. Even reading the list of ingredients was enjoyable!

Liza (author) from USA on October 23, 2019:

Thank you for your nice comment, Liz. This recipe is perfect for cold weather right now.

Liz Westwood from UK on October 23, 2019:

This is a great recipe, presented in a well-illustrated and easy to follow format.

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