Nigethan’s Infamous Garlic Dahl

Nigethan’s Infamous Garlic Dahl

A Cooking Demonstration by former Tamil Feasts chef, Nigethan Siththirasegaram

Tamil Feasts was a social enterprise that served up traditional Sri Lankan fare at CERES for six wonderful years. Prepared by Tamil men seeking asylum in Australia, these thrice-weekly feasts (Monday, Tuesday, Friday) created a context in which the chefs were able to share their cuisine and culture with the wider community.

This unique enterprise simultaneously created a space in which Australians were able to show their support of individuals who were undergoing the difficult experience of seeking refuge in a foreign land – all the while partaking in some seriously tasty food!

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Nigethan’s Infamous Garlic Dahl

Serves 4 – 5 people


  • 300g red lentils (dahl)
  • 1 branch of curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ can of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 600ml water
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 100g peeled garlic, chopped
  • Salt to taste
CERES tamil feast garlic dahl recipe
  • Add the lentils (dahl), coconut milk, 50g chopped garlic and half the chopped onion to a large pot and fill with 600ml water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat so that the mixture is simmering. Cook for 20 – 25 minutes until the lentils are soft and lose their shape.
  • Take a separate pan, and heat the oil at a medium temperature. Once hot, add the mustard, fennel, and cumin seeds, curry leaves, 50g garlic and the other half onion and fry until light brown.
  • After 20 – 25 minutes, the lentils should be cooked. Now add the garlic, onion, and spices to the dahl mixture. Mix all the ingredients together, adding enough salt to taste.
  • Serve with rice and enjoy
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