An easy cook-at-home spiced-lentil curry from 3 Leaves restaurant

Kitchen Cabinet: Santosh Thomas’s warming dhal, crisp fried okra and fragrant rice

My favourite meal to cook at home is a simple dhal and caramelised okra with rice. During these times of self-isolation, I thought it would be nice to share a recipe that is comforting and warming.

This reminds me of home and my family. Growing up in Banaras, in northern India, there was constant availability of fresh ingredients. This abundance of ingredients from the local fields around me inspired me to cook.

Okra is available in any of the speciality Asian shops, but you can also substitute sliced carrots, sliced green beans or boiled new potatoes.

Santosh Thomas is chef proprietor at 3 Leaves in Blackrock, Co Dublin.


Rice, dhal and okra

Serves two


For the rice

200g basmati rice

For the dhal

100g red lentils
2 shallots, sliced
2 tbsp oil
¼ tsp turmeric
2 green chillies
Ginger, thumbsized piece, chopped
½ tsp cumin
2 tomatoes, chopped
Curry leaves/coriander leaves (a small handful)
Dry red chillies (optional)

For the caramelised okra

250g okra, thinly sliced
1 or 2 green chillies, thinly sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced


1. To prepare the rice: Soak the rice in water for 25-30 minutes.

2. Boil the rice with four cups of water and salt to taste. When it is cooked drain the rice into a colander.

3. To preparing the dhal: Boil the lentils with two to three cups of water, skim any scum from the top. Once the lentils are cooked, keep them aside.

4. Heat the two tablespoons of oil in a pan and add the sliced shallots. Sauté till the shallots become translucent.

5. Add cumin, turmeric, curry leaves/coriander leaves, chopped tomatoes and dry red chillies. Mix it through and let it cook for two to three minutes.

6. Add the boiled lentils into the spices and onions. Add salt to taste and mix well. Cook it for another three minutes. Check the consistency, and add warm water to make the consistency of the dhal, thick or thin, to your own taste.

7. To prepare the okra: Heat a pan on low flame with two tablespoons of oil and add the sliced shallots and green chillies. Cook till the onion is golden brown.

8. Add the sliced okra and cook till the stickiness of the okra is gone. Add salt to taste. Cook it slowly on a low flame till the oil separates and the okra gets crispy.

9. Drain the excess oil and serve it on the side, with the rice and dhal.

Kitchen Cabinet is a series of recipes from chefs who are members of Euro-toques Ireland who have come together during the coronavirus outbreak to share some of the easy, tasty things that they like to cook and eat at home #ChefsAtHome