Lentil Curry - mega flavour lentil recipe! (2022)

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 Curry - mega flavour lentil recipe! (1)

“I’ll be honest and say I thought this would be lacking in flavour because I’m used to trying curries from scratch rather than with curry powder……How wrong was I?? I apologise wholeheartedly Nagi!! Amazing recipe, please try this people. Tasty, easy, mind blowingly awesome. xx” – Emily,10 April 2020

Lentil Recipe – easy – mega flavour!

I know it’s childish of me to complain, but this Lentil Curry took anirritatingly long time to create.

I wanted simple. Minimal ingredients. And meat-free. Not like, say, this more complex (but equally delicious) Beef and Lentil Soup.

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. Creatingkapow! 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!!)

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Two little steps make all the difference…..

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. Then we cook off the two spices to make the flavour bloom.

These two little steps make all the difference so weonly need water for this curry, no stock!

What goes in Lentil Curry with Coconut Sauce

Here’s what you need:

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  • 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.

    (Video) Lentil Curry - the most amazing EASY Lentil Recipe in the world!!!

  • 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.

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The Secret to an 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 waterinstead of stock or broth.

Then we also cook off the curry powder and turmeric which lets the spicesbloom before adding the lentils and everything else in to simmer away.

Just LOOK at that incredible sauce! So creamy! Loaded with flavour! (There are not enough exclamation marks in this world!!!)

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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 thencauliflower rice will work a treat. Basmati is on theme (being a curry and all) though plain white rice or brown rice is just fine too.

And if you really want to go all out, add a side of flatbread: Either real-deal naan or my general-purpose flatbread (an easy, no yeast recipe and I serve it as naan all the time with Indiancurries).

How to cook Basmati Rice
Easy Soft Flatbread Recipe (No Yeast)
How to cook white rice – easily and perfectly
(Video) Brown Lentil Curry - Mega flavoursome
Cauliflower Rice

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

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Lentil Curry - mega flavour lentil recipe!

Author: Nagi

Prep: 5 mins

Cook: 55 mins

Mains

Indian

5 from 146 votes

Servings5 - 6

Tap or hover to scale

(Video) Spicy Masoor Dhal / brown lentil curry.

Print

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.

Ingredients

  • 50g (3 tbsp) butter , unsalted (sub 2 tbsp neutral oil)
  • 4 garlic cloves , finely minced (Note 1)
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger , finely minced (Note 1)
  • 1 onion , finely chopped (white, yellow, brown)
  • 2 tbsp curry powder , mild or spicy (your choice!) (Note 2)
  • 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 3)
  • 400 ml / 14 oz coconut milk , full fat
  • 400g/ 14 oz canned tomato , crushed or diced
  • 3 cups (750 ml) water

Serving:

  • 1/2 cup coriander/cilantro , finely chopped
  • Yogurt , optional
  • Basmati rice (or other rice)

Instructions

  • Saute onion: 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.

  • Cook off spices: Turn heat up to high, add curry powder and turmeric, stir for 1 1/2 minutes.

  • Add everything else: 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: Simmer for 30 minutes, then remove lid and simmer for a further 10 minutes to reduce the sauce. {Note 2 for cook times of other lentils}

  • Lentils should be soft, sauce should be thickened and creamy. Too thick, add water. Too thin, simmer with lid off - thickens quickly.

  • Coriander: Stir through half the coriander, then taste and add more salt if needed.

  • Serve over basmati rice, sprinkled with more coriander and a dollop of yogurt. (Low carb option - cauliflower rice).

    (Video) Whole Masoor Dal | Brown Lentils Curry | Kali Masoor Dal Recipe I Lentil Recipe

Recipe Notes:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Lentils -use any dried lentils or canned here, or split peas (will result in an an interesting colour in your pot, but it will still be phenomenally delicious!).

NOTE: Age of lentils will affect cook times. Very old dried lentils can take double the cook time. Just keep adding water until it is cooked. Cook times provided are packets purchased within the past few months from a grocery store (ie not super fresh but not extremely old).

COOK TIMES:

  • Green and brown lentils - most common & cheapest, cook per recipe
  • Canned lentils (2 cans drained) - 25 min, uncovered the whole time
  • Red split lentils - 25 min, uncovered the whole time
  • Yellow or green split peas - 25 min, uncovered the whole time
  • Any dal (Indian lentils) such as channa dal, toor dal or moong dal - per recipe
  • French lentils (Puy lentils / black lentils) - not recommended as they don't soften as well as other lentils so you won't get the same creamy, thick texture.

4. Storage - will keep in fridge for up to 5 days, and in freezer for 3 months (thaw, heat, give it a good stir and it will be as good as new. Use water to thin slightly if needed.)

5. Nutrition per serving, excluding rice.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 414cal (21%)Carbohydrates: 36g (12%)Protein: 14g (28%)Fat: 26g (40%)Saturated Fat: 20g (125%)Cholesterol: 22mg (7%)Sodium: 782mg (34%)Potassium: 865mg (25%)Fiber: 15g (63%)Sugar: 5g (6%)Vitamin A: 544IU (11%)Vitamin C: 13mg (16%)Calcium: 91mg (9%)Iron: 7mg (39%)

Keywords: lentil curry, lentil recipe

Did you make this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @RecipeTinEats.

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. 😩)

Lentil Curry - mega flavour lentil recipe! (12)

(Video) Brown Lentil Curry | Sabut Masoor Dal Recipe | Eat

FAQs

How do you make canned lentils taste good? ›

Seasoning ideas: cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, and vegetables such as onions, carrots and celery. Don't add tomatoes, vinegar or other acids to the dish until the lentils are cooked.

How do you cook tinned lentils? ›

How To Prepare Canned Lentils - YouTube

What flavors go well with lentils? ›

Think of lentils as a blank slate. They don't have a lot of flavor on their own, but they do a great job of taking on flavors and seasonings. I like to add a combination of ginger, garlic, paprika, turmeric, garam masala, and salt.

How do you make Flavoured lentils? ›

Optional aromatics: To add more flavor to the lentils, feel free to add a bay leaf, 1-2 whole cloves of fresh garlic, chicken or veggie bouillon, and/or any of your favorite herbs or spices to the water.

Should I drain canned lentils? ›

It is not necessary to rinse canned lentils before cooking, but you can rinse them by emptying them into a strainer and under cold water. This can help to remove some of the sodium content from the liquid around the beans.

Are lentils in a can already cooked? ›

Dry lentils require you to cook them yourself while canned lentils cuts meal prep time as they are already pre-cooked. A common concern with canned lentils is the high sodium content used to preserve the lentils.

How can I spice up canned lentil soup? ›

Adding just an ingredient or two from your own pantry or fridge can turn a ho-hum canned soup into a satisfying meal. Here are our 10 favorite additions: • 1 Greens: A handful of leafy greens like frozen spinach, thinly sliced chopped kale or bagged arugula add color, nutrition and a fresh flavor.

Are canned lentils good? ›

Canned lentils are a convenient and versatile ingredient that will pump up the gut-friendly fibre and satisfying protein of any meal. And, lentils contribute to your five-plus-a-day. They can be used to bulk out meat dishes or as a healthy plant-based protein in vegetarian or vegan dishes.

Can I use canned lentils instead of dry? ›

Canned lentils can certainly be used as a quick alternative, but look for varieties with low sodium content, and be sure to rinse them well before use. Because lentils are so quick and easy to cook, using dried lentils is preferable and much more inexpensive to use as well.

What herbs or spices go with lentils? ›

Cooked, drained lentils can be mixed with freshly chopped herbs for a delicious, nutritious and low-calorie boost of flavor. While sticking to classics such as fresh parsley will add a welcome splash of color and a veggie note, try for different herbs, such as lemongrass, garlic, ginger or cilantro.

How long do lentils need to cook? ›

Be sure to use a large enough saucepan as the lentils will double or triple in size. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat and simmer until they are tender. For whole lentils, cook time is typically 15-20 minutes. For split red lentils, cook time is typically only about 5-7 minutes.

What protein pairs well with lentils? ›

Fish is a Meats that goes well with lentils. Salmon with Lentils – This is one of the most popular recipes on our website. It's packed with delicious salmon and vegetables, but also has a generous serving of lentils. It's a delicious and filling meal that's perfect for a dinner date.

Can you overcook lentils? ›

Lentils must not be overcooked or they will become soft and mushy. Different varieties require different cooking times. Use 1 1/2 cups of water or broth to 1 cup of lentils.

How long should I soak lentils? ›

Pour your lentils in a large pot and cover them with cold water. Allow to soak for at least 4 hours or overnight and up to 24 hours for best results. Then drain the water and give the lentils another quick rinse with fresh, cold water. At this point, you can proceed to cook your lentils however you desire.

What is the best way to eat lentils? ›

Five Ways to Eat Lentils
  1. Use them in a soup. It's an old standby for a reason: It's just flat-out good, especially on a cold day. ...
  2. Use them in fillings. This is how I've usually worked with lentils in a non-soup setting. ...
  3. Toss them. ...
  4. Bake them. ...
  5. Use them for sweets.
Feb 29, 2012

How can I spice up canned lentil soup? ›

Adding just an ingredient or two from your own pantry or fridge can turn a ho-hum canned soup into a satisfying meal. Here are our 10 favorite additions: • 1 Greens: A handful of leafy greens like frozen spinach, thinly sliced chopped kale or bagged arugula add color, nutrition and a fresh flavor.

Are canned lentils good? ›

Canned lentils are a convenient and versatile ingredient that will pump up the gut-friendly fibre and satisfying protein of any meal. And, lentils contribute to your five-plus-a-day. They can be used to bulk out meat dishes or as a healthy plant-based protein in vegetarian or vegan dishes.

What is the difference between canned lentils and dry? ›

Let's take a closer look at this convenient staple. Lentils are sold in two forms: canned and dried. While canned are good for ready-to-eat uses such as a quick salad or side dish, the dried version works well for soups and stews, salads, and sides.

Can I use canned lentils instead of dry? ›

Canned lentils can certainly be used as a quick alternative, but look for varieties with low sodium content, and be sure to rinse them well before use. Because lentils are so quick and easy to cook, using dried lentils is preferable and much more inexpensive to use as well.

Videos

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5. Brown Lentil Curry | VEGAN & GLUTEN-FREE | Sabut Masoor ki Dal | #frugal #easymeal #batchcooking
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