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 Dal curry recipe
This lentils curry actually happened as an accident, when I poured in some coconut milk in my Tarka dal instead of the chickpea tikka masala, that I was cooking simultaneously and it was a good one.
Then I had to jazz up the dal with coconut milk with a little more spices and it was so so good. Since then, I intentionally add coconut milk to my red lentils, because they are delicious and creamy.
I like to call this a curry because the Red Lentil Dal has a curry consistency with a little more spices than usual and add-ins. This lentil curry can be made with any type of lentils available in the pantry, preferably something 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.
However, the method of preparing this lentil curry is really simple like dal and a little more goodness.
Also, this lentil curry is a healthy, delicious Vegan meal that can be made all year through. I like to serve them in my buddha bowl along with a small portion of seasoned rice, flatbread, guacamole, and yogurt.
My kids will happily eat this lentil curry without any complaint, with their favorite roti, aloo gobi, and cucumber salad.
Why make this red lentil curry?
- 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.
- Dhaal is Healthy & delicious – Red lentils are super easy to cook, 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 its ready to tuck in.
- Freezer friendly and can be stored for up to 3 months.
- Dietary needs– Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free and Dairy Free
You will need the following ingredients for the Red Lentils curry recipe.
Red Lentils – I like to use Red split Lentils also known as masoor dal in Hindi in this recipe. They are tiny reddish-orange legumes that are easy to cook, loaded with protein, iron, fiber, and Vit B. However you can use any other type of lentils too, that’s stocked in your pantry. Keep in mind cooking time may vary and use the time as per the packet instructions.
Vegetable Stock or Water – Veg Stock adds extra flavor to the lentil dal curry. I do like to use Knorr or OXO Vegetable Stock cubes in my recipe. Dilute 1 stock cube in the required amount of hot water and stir.
Tomato – I use 1 can of diced tomatoes with juices in the recipe, 400g. You can also use fresh tomatoes for the same weight if you have them in plenty.
Coconut milk – is simply delicious and lends South Asian flavors to the lentil curry. If you are not a fan of coconut milk, you can use cream instead, but the flavors & taste will vary.
Coconut oil – As the recipe uses Coconut milk, I like to use coconut oil for sautéing my vegetables. You may also use Vegetable oil / Sunflower Oil, Olive oil, or any other neutral flavor oil.
Onion – Red or White onion will work in this recipe.
Ginger Garlic – Either use 1 Tablespoon of ginger garlic paste ( easy to buy at Asian stores ) or use freshly grated ginger and minced garlic. I keep a bottle of ginger garlic paste stocked in the fridge – they come really handy when you are in a rush
Green chilies or serrano peppers – If you like it extra spicy, add them along with onions.
Spice Powders – I like to use Turmeric, Chili powder, Garam masala, Curry powder, Ground cumin, and Ground coriander in red lentil curry. Salt to taste.
juice of 1/2 lemon for the zing.
Coriander leaves or Cilantro – About 2- 3 Tablespoons of coriander leaves to finish off the dish.
How to make Vegan Red Lentil Curry step by step?
STEP 1 – To make this 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 chilly 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, this red lentil dhal curry, chana masala, paneer butter masala, naan bread, vegetable biryani, and cucumber lassi.
Can I freeze Red Lentil Curry?
Yes, you can freeze Red Lentil curry! Allow the curry to cool down completely after cooking.
Transfer to a freezer-safe container, label, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to reheat Lentil Curry?
From frozen – Allow the lentil curry to thaw overnight in the fridge or defrost in the microwave. Then heat thoroughly in the microwave for at least 5 minutes, stirring in between.
From chilled – Heat the lentil curry in the microwave for 5 minutes, stirring in between.
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.
If you love this recipe, you will also love these Red lentil recipes
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Quick & Easy 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.