This lentil recipe is an eye opener – an incredible creamy coconut Lentil Curry made with just TWO spices! It’s a streamlined version of Indian Dal, delivering a similar intoxicating curry flavour but a whole lot less complicated. Make this with any type of dried lentils, canned, or even split peas!
Don’t let the simplicity of this recipe fool you. This is knock-your-socks-off good, and proof that you can eat amazing food on a budget.
Lentil Recipe you’ll treasure forever
I know it’s childish of me to complain, but this Lentil Curry took an irritatingly long time to create.
I wanted simple. Minimal ingredients.
Quick to make. Very little chopping, very few ingredients.
A “go to” lentil recipe I could make any night that didn’t sacrifice flavour for speed.
And it had to stack up to real Indian Dal. I love it. I just don’t always have the time or everything I need to make it.
I knew it was a pretty high benchmark. Creating kapow! flavours out of plain lentils without going crazy with a list of spices.
But finally, I’m happy – and ready to share. Here it is!! (And just TWO SPICES!!)
The key to cooking amazing food with bare minimum ingredients is good produce and knowing what to do to extract the most flavour out of what you have.
For this recipe, we’re going for the latter. We take our time sautéing the onions, ginger and garlic so they transform from raw harshness to a sweet, savoury flavour base so we only need water for this curry, no stock!
What goes in Lentil Curry with Coconut Sauce
Here’s what you need:
- Lentils – use any dried lentils or canned here. Brown, green, red, yellow, whether split or whole OR any type of dried split peas. Green split peas will result in an an interesting colour in your pot, but it will still be phenomenally delicious. Just avoid French lentils (Puy lentils / black lentils) as they don’t soften as well as other lentils so you won’t get the same creamy, thick texture.
- Curry powder – This is the main shortcut, The beauty of this is that you don’t need any fancy curry powder, just your run-of-the-mill jar from the grocery store. I’ve made this with Clives of India, Keens, and a generic brand and they all tasted just as good. Just be mindful of using SPICY curry powder – check the label!
- Garlic and ginger – while fresh is ideal (followed by jarred), powder is a sufficient substitute;
- Coconut milk – if you use low fat instead of full fat, you are not allowed to complain if your sauce isn’t as good as you hoped!
How to make this lentil recipe
And here’s how to make it. It takes about 50 minutes start to finish, but the active effort is only around 10 minutes – and there’s a nice flow to it because you can gather and measure ingredients while you stir the onions every now and then.
Sauté onion low and slow = Amazing Lentil Recipe!
The key step here is sautéing the onions, garlic and ginger over a low-ish heat until tinged with gold, and they transform into a sweet, savoury flavour base for the sauce so we only need water instead of stock or broth.
Just LOOK at that incredible sauce! So creamy! Loaded with flavour! (There are not enough exclamation marks in this world!!!)
What to serve with lentil curry
A sauce this good demands rice to soak it up, though if you’re on a low carb kick then cauliflower rice will work a treat. Basmati is on theme (being a curry and all) though plain white rice or brown rice will work a treat.
And if you really want to go all out, add a side of flatbread – it’s an easy, no yeast recipe and I serve it as naan all the time with curries.
Now, go forth and experience the greatness that is lentils!! Economical, filling, nourishing – the world’s greatest source of plant based protein, all wrapped up in a coconut curry sauce. YESS!!! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Lentil Curry – mega flavour lentil recipe!
Recipe video above. This will be an eye opener for you – an incredible creamy coconut curry made with just TWO spices! Hugely economical, this is essentially a streamlined version of Indian Dahl, delivering a similar intoxicating curry flavour but a whole lot less complicated.
- 50g (3 tbsp) butter (, unsalted (sub 2 tbsp neutral oil))
- 4 garlic cloves (, finely minced)
- 1.5 tbsp ginger (, finely minced)
- 1 onion (, finely chopped (white, yellow, brown))
- 2 tbsp curry powder (, mild or spicy (your choice!) (Note 1))
- 1/2 tsp tumeric powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (, optional)
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup dried lentils (, green or brown (or any other dried lentils or split peas, Note 2))
- 400 ml / 14 oz coconut milk (, full fat)
- 400g/ 14 oz canned tomato (, crushed or diced)
- 3 cups (750 ml) water
- 1/2 cup coriander/cilantro (, finely chopped)
- Yogurt (, optional)
- Basmati rice ((or other rice))
- Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger. Slowly cook, stirring every now and then, for 10 minutes until tinged with gold and the onion is sweet.
- Turn heat up to high, add curry powder and turmeric, stir for 30 seconds.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir. Bring to simmer, then place lid on and adjust heat to low / medium low so it’s simmering gently.
- Simmer for 30 minutes, then remove lid and simmer for a further 10 minutes to reduce the sauce. Lentils should be soft, sauce should be thickened and creamy.
Stir through half the coriander, then taste and add more salt if needed.
1. Curry powder – I use Clives of India, Keens, and a generic brand and all tasted the same. The beauty of this recipe is that you don’t need any fancy curry powder, just your run-of-the-mill jar from the grocery store.
2. Garlic and ginger – while fresh is ideal (followed by jarred), powder is a sufficient substitute – use 1 tsp of each and add with curry powder.
3. Lentils – use any dried lentils or canned here. Brown, green, red, yellow, whether split or whole OR any type of dried split peas. Green split peas will result in an an interesting colour in your pot, but it will still be phenomenally delicious.
Canned lentils – use 2 cans, drained.
Just avoid French lentils (Puy lentils / black lentils) as they don’t soften as well as other lentils so you won’t get the same creamy, thick texture.
4. Nutrition per serving, excluding rice.
Life of Dozer
Dozer in lockdown mode. This is what passer byes see.
(Don’t worry, he still gets out once a day to the dog park! He just doesn’t go out as much as he used to. Like all of us. )