Indulge in the simplicity and creaminess of this easy lentil curry. With just a handful of ingredients, it’s a flavourful and satisfying dish in no time!
Welcome to the world of aromatic spices and rich flavours! Today, we are going to dive into the delightful realm of creamy lentil curry. This recipe combines the humble lentils with a harmonious blend of spices and a velvety coconut cream base to create a dish that is both comforting and satisfying.
Lentils are known for their nutritional value and versatility, form the heart of this curry. They provide a hearty texture and a good source of plant-based protein. When simmered in a fragrant curry sauce, the lentils absorb the flavours, resulting in a delicious and wholesome dish.
Why you will love this lentil curry recipe
There are many reasons why this dish is a staple in my family, and you will surely love it too! But here are few reasons:
- Nutritional Benefits: Lentils are a fantastic source of plant-based protein, fibre, and essential nutrients, making lentil curry a healthy and balanced meal option, not only for adults, but also for kids.
- Easy and Quick: Lentil curry is a relatively simple dish to prepare, requiring basic ingredients, that you will certainly find in your pantry. It requires minimal cooking time, and it’s just perfect for those busy days when you want a delicious, satisfying meal without spending hours in the kitchen.
- Versatile and Customizable: Lentil curry can be adapted to personal preferences by adding various vegetables, spices. It’s a versatile recipe that allows for creativity and experimentation.
- Budget-Friendly: Lentils are affordable and readily available, making them an excellent choice for those on a tight budget. The lentil curry recipe provides a satisfying and economical meal option.
- Olive Oil: Used as the cooking oil, olive oil adds a rich and slightly fruity flavour to the curry. It also helps to sauté the onion and garlic, providing a flavourful base for the dish.
- Onion: The onion acts as a flavour foundation, providing a sweet and savoury taste to the curry. It also adds a pleasant texture and aroma to the dish.
- Garlic (minced): Garlic adds a robust and aromatic flavour to the curry. It enhances the overall depth of the dish and complements the other spices and ingredients.
- Sauvignon Mustard: Sauvignon mustard adds a tangy and slightly spicy note to the curry. It contributes to the overall flavour profile, adding a hint of complexity.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is responsible for the vibrant yellow colour of the curry. It also adds a warm and earthy flavour to the dish, along with its numerous health benefits.
- Ground Cilantro: Ground cilantro, or coriander, offers a refreshing and citrus flavour to the lentil curry. It complements the other spices and adds a hint of brightness to the overall taste.
- Cumin: Cumin brings a warm and nutty flavour to the curry, enhancing its depth and complexity. It is a key spice in many Indian dishes and adds a distinct aroma.
- Curry Powder: Curry powder is a blend of various spices, including turmeric, cumin, coriander, and more. It provides the signature curry flavour and adds a delightful spiciness to the dish.
- Tomato Paste: Tomato paste adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavour to the curry. It also helps to thicken the sauce and intensify the overall taste.
- Coconut Cream: Coconut cream brings a creamy and luxurious texture to the lentil curry. It adds richness and balances the spices, providing a velvety mouthfeel to the dish.
- Lentils: Lentils are the star ingredient of the curry. They provide a hearty and nutritious base, offering a good source of protein and fibre. They absorb the flavours of the spices and coconut cream, creating a delicious and satisfying texture.
- Fresh Cilantro (for garnish): Fresh cilantro leaves add a burst of freshness and colour to the curry. They enhance the overall presentation and provide a contrasting flavour to the rich and spiced curry.
- Avocado (sliced, for garnish): Avocado slices add a creamy and buttery element to the lentil curry. They provide a cool and refreshing contrast, complementing the warm and spicy flavours of the dish.
- Sour Cream: Sour cream can be used as a garnish to add a creamy and tangy element to the curry. It offers a cool and refreshing contrast and helps to mellow down the heat, if desired.
What you should know about lentils?
I am going to take a little detour in this recipe and want to educate you a bit about lentils. Did you know that Canada is the biggest produces of lentils in the whole world ? Oh yes, we Canadians have the biggest production of lentils in the world, yup, go and google it!
While I proudly repeated this information to you, now I will continue on benefits of lentils 🙂 Brown, green, yellow, red or black — lentils are low in calories, rich in iron and folate and an excellent source of protein. They pack health-promoting polyphenols and may reduce several heart disease risk factors. They are simply healthy for you.
The negative about lentils are the gases. Yes, it gives gas, because of high amount of fibre. So, if you are not a big eater of fibre, go easy on lentils. I mean, try one bowl for supper and then give it a break for three days. If everything goes well, continue experimenting with lentils, there is waste choice of lentils on the market.
How to make lentil curry
This lentil curry is cooked in about one hour. And requires very low skills in the kitchen or equipment. You will need a simple deep skillet or pan with cover.
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add the minced onion and garlic. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent, and the garlic is fragrant.
- Add Sauvignon mustard to the pan and stir it into the onion and garlic mixture. Cook for another minute to release its flavours.
- Sprinkle turmeric, ground cilantro, cumin, and curry powder into the pan. Stir well to coat the onion mixture with the spices. Allow them to cook for about a minute, until fragrant.
- Stir in the tomato paste, ensuring it is well incorporated into the spice mixture. Cook for another minute, allowing the tomato paste to deepen in flavour.
- Add coconut cream to the pan, stirring it into the spice mixture. Allow the mixture to come to a gentle simmer.
- Rinse the lentils under cold water, then add them to the saucepan. Add water and stir well to combine the lentils with the creamy curry sauce.
- Cover the saucepan with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Let the curry simmer gently for about 20–25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and cooked through. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Once the lentils are cooked to your desired consistency, remove the saucepan from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed by adding salt or additional spices.
- Serve the lentil curry hot, garnished with fresh cilantro leaves and sliced avocado. You can also add a dollop of sour cream on top for extra creaminess, if desired.
- Enjoy your creamy lentil curry with steamed rice, naan bread, or any other accompaniments of your choice.
Pre-soak the Lentils: If you have the time, consider pre-soaking the lentils for a few hours or overnight. This can help reduce the cooking time and ensure that the lentils cook evenly and become tender.
Use Fresh Spices: For the best flavour, try to use fresh spices. Ground spices tend to lose their potency over time, so using fresh spices will give your lentil curry a more vibrant and aromatic taste.
Toast the Spices: For an extra boost of flavour, consider toasting the ground spices in a dry pan for a minute or two before adding them to the curry. This helps to release their essential oils and intensify their flavours.
Adjust the Spice Level: Lentil curry can be customized to your preferred spice level. If you prefer a milder curry, reduce the amount of curry powder or omit any additional chili flakes. If you enjoy heat, feel free to add more spices or chili flakes.
Don’t Overcook the Lentils: Be mindful not to overcook the lentils, as they can turn mushy. Keep an eye on them during the cooking process and check for the desired tenderness. It’s better to slightly undercook them, as they will continue to soften off the heat.
Add Vegetables: Lentil curry is a great opportunity to incorporate vegetables into your meal. Consider adding diced bell peppers, spinach, carrots, or peas to the curry for extra flavour, texture, and nutritional value.
Adjust the Consistency: If you prefer a thinner curry, you can add a bit of vegetable broth or water to the lentil curry while it simmers. If you prefer a thicker consistency, simmer it uncovered for a bit longer to allow the liquid to reduce.
Allow the Curry to Rest: Like many other curries, lentil curry often tastes even better after resting for a while. Once it’s cooked, let it sit for a few minutes or even refrigerate it overnight to allow the flavours to meld together and intensify.
Experiment with Garnishes: Get creative with the garnishes! In addition to fresh cilantro and sliced avocados, you can also try topping your lentil curry with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice, a sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes, or a drizzle of yogourt.
Can I use different types of lentils for the curry?
Yes, lentil curry is versatile, and you can use different types of lentils such as green lentils, red lentils, or brown lentils. Keep in mind that different lentils have varying cooking times, so adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Can I make lentil curry in advance?
Yes, lentil curry can be made in advance. In fact, the flavours tend to deepen and meld together when the curry sits for a while. You can refrigerate it for a few days or freeze it for longer storage. Just reheat gently on the stove top or in the microwave before serving.
Can I adjust the consistency of the curry?
Yes, you can adjust the consistency of the curry according to your preference. If you want a thicker curry, simmer it uncovered for longer to allow the liquid to reduce. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add a bit of vegetable broth or water while the curry simmers.
Can I add meat or other protein to the lentil curry?
Lentil curry is traditionally a vegetarian dish, but you can add meat or other protein if you prefer. Cooked chicken, shrimp, or tofu can be added to the curry during the cooking process. Adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the protein you choose to add.
Can I make lentil curry without coconut cream?
Yes, if you prefer a lighter version or if you have dietary restrictions, you can make lentil curry without coconut cream. Simply substitute it with vegetable broth or a dairy-free milk alternative like almond milk or soy milk. The flavour and texture will be slightly different, but still delicious.
How can I make the lentil curry spicier?
To make the lentil curry spicier, you can increase the amount of curry powder, add extra chili flakes, or incorporate fresh chili peppers like jalapeños or Thai chilies. Adjust the spice level gradually according to your tolerance and taste preferences.
Can I add vegetables to the lentil curry?
Absolutely! Lentil curry is a great opportunity to add vegetables. Consider adding diced bell peppers, spinach, carrots, peas, or any other vegetables you enjoy. Add them during the cooking process and simmer until they are cooked to your desired tenderness.
Can I serve lentil curry with something other than rice?
While lentil curry pairs beautifully with rice, you can also serve it with other options like naan bread, quinoa, couscous, or even crusty bread. These alternatives can add variety and texture to your meal.
How can I reduce the cooking time for lentil curry?
To reduce the cooking time, you can soak the lentils beforehand, use a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot, or choose lentils that cook faster such as red lentils. These methods can help expedite the cooking process without compromising the flavours.
Can I customize the spices in the lentil curry?
Yes, feel free to customize the spices according to your taste preferences. You can adjust the amounts of cumin, coriander, turmeric, or other spices to suit your desired flavour profile. Experimenting with different spice combinations can create unique variations of lentil curry.
Variations for lentil curry
- Thai-Inspired Lentil Curry: Infuse your lentil curry with Thai flavours by adding ingredients like lemongrass, Thai red curry paste, coconut milk, and a squeeze of lime juice. Garnish with fresh Thai basil and chopped peanuts for an authentic touch.
- Mediterranean Lentil Curry: Give your lentil curry a Mediterranean twist by adding ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, and a sprinkle of feta cheese. Serve with warm pita bread or couscous for a delightful fusion.
- Smoky Chipotle Lentil Curry: Add a smoky and spicy kick to your lentil curry by incorporating chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. The smokiness pairs well with the earthiness of lentils. Top with sliced avocado and a dollop of Greek yogourt for a cool contrast.
- Coconut-Curry Lentil Soup: Transform your lentil curry into a creamy and comforting soup by adding more vegetable broth or coconut milk to achieve a soup-like consistency. Serve with crusty bread for dipping and enjoy a cozy bowl of lentil curry soup.
- Roasted Vegetable Lentil Curry: Roast a variety of vegetables such as sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and bell peppers before adding them to your lentil curry. The caramelization from roasting adds depth of flavour and a lovely texture to the curry.
- Lentil and Spinach Curry: Amp up the nutritional value of your lentil curry by adding a generous amount of fresh spinach leaves. The spinach wilts down and adds a vibrant colour and an extra dose of vitamins to your dish.
- Steamed Rice: Serve your lentil curry with fluffy steamed rice, such as basmati rice or jasmine rice. The rice acts as a neutral base and helps to balance the flavours of the curry.
- Naan Bread: Pair your lentil curry with warm and pillow naan bread. The soft and slightly chewy texture of the naan is perfect for scooping up the curry and enjoying its delicious flavours.
- Roti or Chapati: Another great option is to serve your lentil curry with roti or chapati, which are thin Indian bread made from whole wheat flour. They have a slightly nutty flavour and provide a nice contrast to the creamy curry.
- Quinoa: For a healthier twist, consider serving your lentil curry with quinoa. Quinoa is packed with protein and adds a light and fluffy texture to the meal. It also works well for those following a gluten-free diet.
- Couscous: Explore a North African-inspired pairing by serving your lentil curry with fluffy couscous. The small grains of couscous soak up the flavours of the curry and offer a pleasant texture.
- Salad: Freshen up your meal by serving a crisp salad alongside the lentil curry. A simple salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette can provide a refreshing and contrasting element to the curry.
Leftovers and Freezing: Lentil curry makes excellent leftovers and can be frozen for future meals. Store any leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3–4 days, or freeze them for up to 3 months. Simply thaw and reheat when ready to enjoy.
- CAULIFLOWER FRITTERS
- PUMPKIN SPICE CHEESECAKE TART
- AVOCADO DEVILLED QUAIL EGGS
- DAIRY FREE COCONUT ICE CREAM
- PUMPKIN SPICE CHEESECAKE BARS
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small onion peeled and diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Old fashioned Sauvignon mustard or classic Dijon
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cilantro
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2/3 cup tomato paste
- 1 can coconut cream or coconut milk
- 1 cup dry lentils rinsed
- 3 cups of water
- fresh cilantro for garnish
- 2 small avocados cut in sliced for garnish
- 6 teaspoons sour cream for garnish
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add the minced onion and garlic. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent, and the garlic is fragrant. Add Sauvignon mustard to the pan and stir it into the onion and garlic mixture. Cook for another minute to release its flavours.1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 small onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon Old fashioned Sauvignon mustard
- Sprinkle turmeric, ground cilantro, cumin, and curry powder into the pan. Stir well to coat the onion mixture with the spices. Allow them to cook for about a minute, until fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste, ensuring it is well incorporated into the spice mixture. Cook for another minute, allowing the tomato paste to deepen in flavour.1 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon ground cilantro, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon curry powder, 2/3 cup tomato paste
- Add coconut cream to the pan, stirring it into the spice mixture. Allow the mixture to come to a gentle simmer. Rinse the lentils under cold water, then add them to the saucepan. Add the water an stir well to combine the lentils with the creamy curry sauce. Cover the saucepan with a lid and reduce the heat to low.1 can coconut cream, 1 cup dry lentils, 3 cups of water
- Let the curry simmer gently for about 20–25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and cooked through. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Once the lentils are cooked to your desired consistency, remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed by adding salt or additional spices. Serve the lentil curry hot, garnished with fresh cilantro leaves and sliced avocado. You can also add a dollop of sour cream on top for extra creaminess, if desired. Enjoy your creamy lentil curry with steamed rice, naan bread, or any other accompaniments of your choice.salt & pepper, fresh cilantro, 2 small avocados, 6 teaspoons sour cream