This easy Lentil Curry recipe is great for vegetarians, vegans, anyone looking for meat-free options, gluten-free, and dairy-free diets.
About this Easy Red Lentil curry recipe
This tasty lentil curry came to life by accident – I mistakenly poured coconut milk into my Tarka dal instead of the chickpea tikka masala I was making. Surprisingly, it tasted more like Tarka Dhal soup and was really good!
To amp up more into a red lentils dal, I added a bit more spices, making it super delicious. Since then, I intentionally include coconut milk because it adds a yummy creaminess. I call it a curry because it has a thicker consistency and extra stuff mixed in.
This vegan lentil curry is a healthy and tasty meal that I make all year round. I like to serve it in a bowl with some seasoned rice, flatbread, guacamole, and yogurt.
Why you’ll love this red lentil curry recipe?
- It is really easy, FAST, and Budget-friendly. To make this really easy lentil curry, I use split small red lentils
- A hearty dish made with easy-to-find ingredients from the pantry.
- Versatile and easy to adapt – Use spices and ingredients to your convenience or taste. Don’t have something, simply switch it up.
- Variations – Make it with any lentils that cooks fast. I have made it with green lentils and brown lentils too, but there will be a difference in the cooking time and the taste depending upon the type of lentil used.
- Dahl is Healthy & delicious – Red lentils are super easy to cook, and packed with protein, iron, fiber, and vitamins.
- Under 40 minutes – Tuck into a healthy restaurant-style coconut curry dish, still leaving you feeling nourished.
- You have at least half a packet of dried red lentils. And this recipe comes together in a jiffy!
- Make-ahead – Great as a Beginner’s recipe and you really cannot go wrong with it! Make it ahead of time and it’s ready to tuck in.
Ingredients for Red Lentil curry recipe
- Red Lentils – Opt for Red split Lentils, also known as masoor dal in Hindi, for this flavourful and nutritious curry. These tiny reddish-orange legumes are rich in protein, iron, fiber, and Vit B.
- Vegetable Stock or Water – Enhance the lentil dal curry with extra flavor by using vegetable stock. Knorr or OXO Vegetable Stock cubes work well; dilute 1 stock cube in the required amount of hot water and stir.
- Tomato – Add 1 can of diced tomatoes for convenience, or use an equivalent weight of fresh tomatoes if available.
- Coconut Milk – Infuse South Asian flavours into this lentil curry with the addition of delicious coconut milk.
- Coconut Oil – Opt for coconut oil for sautéing the vegetables, complementing the use of coconut milk in the recipe. Alternatively, use vegetable oil or sunflower oil.
- Onion – Red or white onion works well in this curry recipe.
- Ginger Garlic – Use ginger garlic paste for convenience (readily available at Asian stores) or freshly grated ginger and minced garlic.
- Green Chilies or Serrano Peppers – Add a spicy kick by including green chilies or serrano peppers along with the onions if you prefer extra heat.
- Spice Powders – I like to add a blend of turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala, curry powder, ground cumin, and ground coriander in your red lentil curry. Season with salt to taste.
- Lemon Juice – Add a zing to the dish with the juice of half a lemon.
- Coriander Leaves or Cilantro – Finish off the curry with about 2-3 tablespoons of coriander leaves or cilantro for a fresh and aromatic touch.
How to make Creamy coconut red lentil Curry step by step?
STEP 1 – To make this Vegan Red Lentil curry, add cumin to the heated oil in a pan and allow the seeds to pop.
Now add onion, ginger, garlic and saute for 1 min. Add green chilli at this stage, if you like it extra spicy.
Add the spice powders and saute for 30-40 seconds to mix well into the onion masala.
STEP 2 – Add the tomato, salt and stir to mix well with the onion and spices.
Now add red lentils, stock, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the lentils have softened.
STEP 3 – Stir in coconut milk for a creamier curry and cook for another 8-10 minutes. Drizzle in lemon juice and garnish with coriander leaves before serving.
As a component of a large feast for Birthday, Diwali, or any other special occasions – Onion Bhaji with Green chutney, chana masala, paneer butter masala, naan bread, vegetable biryani, and cucumber lassi.
Can I freeze Vegan Red Lentil Curry?
Absolutely! Red Lentil curry freezes exceptionally well. Simply let the curry cool down completely after cooking.
To freeze, transfer the curry into a freezer-safe container, label it, and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to reheat Red Lentil Curry?
From frozen – Allow the lentil curry to thaw overnight in the fridge or defrost it in the microwave. Once thawed, heat it thoroughly in the microwave for at least 5 minutes, stirring in between.
From chilled – Heat the lentil curry in the microwave for 5 minutes, stir in between for even reheating.
Frequently asked questions
How to peel Garlic easily in less than 30 seconds?
Fastest Hack to peel garlic easily – Wrap the individual cloves of garlic inside a damp paper towel and microwave only for 15-20 seconds. You will find the garlic is easy to peel at 15 seconds. If you microwave any longer, the garlic also softens. The garlic can be hot to touch.
How to sort the coconut milk that has thick layer on the top and liquid inside?
Transfer the content into a microwave-safe jar with a spoon. Give it a gentle stir and then microwave for 30-40 seconds. Coconut milk will return to its original state.
Can I substitute Brown lentils for Red in the recipe?
Yes, you can substitute brown lentils for red lentils in the recipe. Keep in mind the cooking time and the texture. Brown lentils will take slightly longer than the red to cook. They usually have a firmer texture, so cook it longer for a creamier texture.
If you love this recipe, you will also love these Red lentil recipes
Quick & Easy Coconut Red Lentil curry recipe below
- 1 cup red Lentils 190 g masoor dal
- 3 cup stock 710ml
- 1 can diced tomato 400g
- 1 can coconut milk 400ml
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp cumin Seeds
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 inch ginger grated
- 1 green chilies optional
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- salt to taste
- juice of 1/2 Lemon
- 2-3 Tbsp coriander leaves
- Heat coconut oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and allow the seeds to pop.
- Now add onion, ginger, garlic, sliced green chilli and saute for 1 min.
- Add the spice powders and saute for 1 minute to mix well into the onion masala.
- Add the tomato and stir to mix well with the onion and spices.
- Now add red lentils, stock, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes.
- Stir in coconut milk, cover, and cook for another 8-10 minutes.
- Squeeze in lemon juice, sprinkle coriander leaves and serve hot.