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Spiced Braised Lentils and Tomatoes with Toasted Coconut

A blend of fresh flavors come together in this satisfying recipe from "Cook This Now" author Melissa Clark. Serve it with homemade Paratha flatbread.

  • Servings: 6
Spiced Braised Lentils and Tomatoes with Toasted Coconut


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality Madras curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups green or brown lentils
  • 3/4 pound ripe juicy tomatoes, chopped (2 medium)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons black or brown mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter, for serving
  • Plain yogurt, for serving (optional)
  • Chopped cilantro, for serving


  1. Melt unsalted butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add scallions, garlic, and curry powder. Cook until vegetables are golden and soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and lentils and cook until slightly caramelized, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and 1 3/4 teaspoons salt. Add enough water to cover by 1/2 inch; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are tender, 25 to 40 minutes. If lentils begin to look dry while cooking, add more water as needed.

  2. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add coconut flakes and mustard seeds; season with salt and cook until coconut is golden, about 3 minutes.

  3. Divide lentils evenly among six serving dishes. Top each with 2 teaspoons salted butter, yogurt (if using), cilantro, and coconut mixture. Serve immediately.

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