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I've made this dish twice and I've been very satisfied with the results. Tonight I used red lentils instead of the typical brown variety which I highly recommend. Red lentils breakdown more quickly and will allow you to skip the blender step. I also far prefer to use fresh cilantro in S. Asian dishes.
My husband and I both thought this was ok. I made several changes: garlic powder for hing, onion for the fennel bulb, omitted all the seeds and dried peppers as I didn't have them on hand, used sweetened coconut instead of unsweetened and halved the amount of cayenne. It still had a hint of spiciness (enough that my kids wouldn't eat it). I'm sure that we would have enjoyed this more if I had been able to follow the recipe more closely.