Borohowa/Coconut Lentils

Servings : Serves 4

Borohowa/Borohoa is an East African lentil dish. What makes it different and, in my opinion, tastier than other kinds of lentil dishes is that this version incorporates coconut milk in the recipe. The results are therefore richer, creamier and incredibly delicious. The dish is served over plain rice or with bread/chapatis/parathas and sometimes a side of meat or fish.


  • 1 cup split lentils (any kind that you have on hand)
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • water as needed
  • salt to taste
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy coconut milk
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp. garam masala


Wash then soak the lentils for about 30 minutes to an hour. Then rinse them off one more time and put the lentils in a pan, add water (NO SALT, adding salt toughens the lentils) and simmer on medium heat until the lentils are tender. You can then drain off the excess water and set the lentils aside.

Heat the oil in a pan, add the onions and fry until golden brown. Then add the roughly chopped tomatoes, green chillies and garlic. Stir until the garlic gets fragrant and the chopped tomatoes are somewhat softened. Then add the drained lentils, turmeric, cumin powder and some salt. Cook for a few minutes until the lentils are well coated with all the spices.

Next add the light coconut milk, turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes. You can add a touch of water if needed at this point. Then blend everything to a rough textured consistency, the charm of this rustic dish is to keep it slightly chunky and not super smooth. But if you prefer it smoother you can absolutely grind it to your liking. Turn the mixture back into the pan and add the heavy coconut milk. Adjust for salt and add a squeeze of lemon juice and the garam masala. Simmer on very low heat for about 5 minutes and then turn off the heat.

Enjoy! 🙂

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