Lentil curry – mega flavor lentil recipe!


This lentil recipe is a revelation – an amazing creamy coconut lentil curry made with just TWO spices! It is a simplified version of Indian Dal, offering a similar but much less complicated intoxicating curry flavor. Make it with any type of dried lentils, canned or even with split peas!

Don’t let the simplicity of this recipe fool you. It’s a good thing, and the proof you can eat amazing food on a budget.

Overhead shot of a lentil curry served over rice, ready to eat

“I’ll be honest and say I thought it would lack flavor because I’m used to trying curries from scratch rather than using curry powder……How much Was I wrong?? I apologize with all my heart Nagi!! Amazing recipe, please try this people. Tasty, easy, mind blowing awesome. xx” – Emily, April 10, 2020

Lentil recipe – easy – mega flavor!

I know it’s childish of me to complain, but this lentil curry took an annoying time to create.

I wanted simple. Minimal ingredients. And without meat. Not like, say, this more complex (but equally delicious) beef and lentil soup.

Quick to do. Very little hash, very few ingredients.

A “to-go” lentil recipe I could make any night didn’t sacrifice flavor for speed.

And it had to stack up to the real Indian Dal. I love it. I don’t always have the time or everything I need to do it.

I knew that was a pretty high benchmark. To create Great ! plain lentil flavors without going crazy with a spice list.

But ultimately, I’m happy – and ready to share. It’s here!! (And just TWO SPICES!!)

Close up on lentil curry, the most amazing simple lentil recipe in the world!

Two small steps make all the difference…

The key to cooking amazing dishes with minimal ingredients is good produce and knowing what to do to extract the most flavor from what you have.

For this recipe, we’re going for the latter. We take our time sautéing the onions, ginger and garlic so they go from raw harshness to a sweet and salty flavor base. Then we cook the two spices to bring out the flavor.

These two small steps make all the difference so we only need water for this curry, no stock!

What Goes Into Lentil Curry with Coconut Sauce

Here is what you need:

What goes into lentil curry - best lentil recipe

  • Lenses – use dried or canned lentils here. Brown, green, red, yellow, split or whole peas OR any type of dried split peas. Green split peas will translate to an interesting color in your jar, but they’ll still be incredibly delicious. Just avoid French lentils (Puy lentils / black lentils) because they don’t soften as well as other lentils, so you won’t get the same thick, creamy texture.

  • Curry powder – This is the main shortcut, the beauty of this is that you don’t need fancy curry powder, just your regular jar from the grocery store. I made it with Clives of India, Keens and a generic brand and they were all equally good. Remember to use SPICY curry powder – check the label!

  • Garlic and ginger – if fresh is ideal (followed by the jar), powder is a sufficient substitute;

  • Coconut milk – if you’re using low fat instead of full fat, you have no right to complain if your sauce isn’t as good as you expected! 😂

How to make this lentil recipe

And here’s how to do it. It takes about 50 minutes from start to finish, but the active effort is only about 10 minutes – and there’s a good pace as you can gather and measure the ingredients while stirring the onions occasionally .

How to make lentil curry

The secret to an amazing lentil recipe

The key step here is to sauté the onions, garlic and ginger over low heat until they are tinged golden, and they turn into a sweet and savory flavor base for the sauce, so we only need water instead of broth or broth.

Then we also cook the curry powder and the turmeric which leaves the spices Flowering before adding the lentils and everything else to simmer.

Just LOOK at this amazing sauce! So creamy! Loaded with flavors! (There aren’t enough exclamation marks in this world!!!)

Close up of the amazing lentil curry - a super simple lentil recipe that only requires TWO spices!

What to serve with lentil curry

A sauce this good requires rice to soak it up, but if you’re low carb, cauliflower rice will do. Basmati is themed (being a curry and all) although plain white rice or brown rice is fine too.

And if you really want to go all out, add a side of flatbread: either a real naan or my general-purpose flatbread (an easy, yeast-free recipe and I serve it as naan all the time with Indian curries).

Now go ahead and experience the greatness of lentils!! Economical, hearty, nutritious – the world’s greatest source of plant-based protein, all wrapped in a coconut curry sauce. YES !!! –Nagi x

Watch how to do it

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Lentil curry – mega flavor lentil recipe!

Servings5 – 6

Tap or hover to scale

Video recipe above. This will be a revelation for you – an amazing creamy coconut curry made with just TWO spices! Very economical, it is essentially a simplified version of the Indian Dahl, offering a similar intoxicating curry flavor but much less complicated.


  • 50g (3 tablespoons) Butter unsalted (less than 2 tablespoons neutral oil)
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped (Note 1)
  • 1.5 soup Ginger finely chopped (Note 1)
  • 1 onion finely chopped (white, yellow, brown)
  • 2 soup curry powder sweet or spicy (your choice!) (Note 2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper optional
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Chopped off dried lentils green or brown (or any other dried lentils or split peas, Note 3)
  • 400ml / 14oz coconut milk full of fat
  • 400g/ 14oz canned tomatoes crushed or diced
  • 3 cups (750ml) the water


  • Brown the onion: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until golden brown and the onion is sweet.

  • Cook the spices: Bring to a high heat, add the curry powder and the turmeric, stir for 1 1/2 minutes.

  • Add everything else: Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil, then put the lid on and adjust the heat to low/medium so it simmers gently.

  • Simmer: Simmer for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and simmer another 10 minutes to reduce the sauce. {Note 2 for cooking times of other lentils}

  • The lentils should be soft, the sauce should be thick and creamy. Too thick, add water. Too runny, simmer uncovered – thickens quickly.

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

  • To serve over basmati rice, sprinkled with more cilantro and a dollop of yogurt. (Low carb option – cauliflower rice).

Recipe Notes:

1. Garlic and ginger – while fresh is ideal (followed by pot), powder is a sufficient substitute – use 1 tsp of each and add curry powder to it.
2. Curry powder – I use Clives of India, Keens and a generic brand and all taste the same. The beauty of this recipe is that you don’t need any fancy curry powder, just your regular jar from the grocery store.
3. Lenses – use dried or canned lentils here, or split peas (this will give an interesting color in your jar, but it will still be incredibly delicious!).
REMARK: The age of the lentils will affect cooking times. Very old, dried lentils can take double the cooking time. Just keep adding water until it’s cooked. The cooking times provided are packets purchased within the last few months from a grocery store (i.e. not super fresh but not extremely old).

  • Green and brown lentils – most common and cheapest, cook by recipe
  • Canned lentils (2 cans drained) 25 min, discovered all the time
  • Red split lentils – 25 min, uncovered all the time
  • Yellow or green split peas – 25 min, uncovered all the 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 thick creamy texture.

4. Storage – will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for 3 months (thaw, heat, stir well and it will be good as new. Use water to dilute slightly if needed.)
5. Food per serving, excluding rice.

Nutrition Information:

calories: 414callus (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: 544UI (11%)Vitamin C: 13mg (16%)Calcium: 91mg (9%)The iron: 7mg (39%)

The life of the bulldozer

Bulldozer in lockout mode. This is what passers-by see.

(Don’t worry, he still goes out once a day to the dog park! He just doesn’t go out as much as he used to. Like all of us. 😩)

Bulldozer locked out

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