Red Lentil Curry Recipe -
Red Lentil Curry Recipe
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Red Lentil Curry
See how to make a quick-and-easy vegetarian curry. See more
  • READY IN 40 mins

Red Lentil Curry

Recipe by  

"This is a rich and hearty lentil curry, great as a main meal rather than as a side dish like the more traditional Indian dhal. Don't let the ingredient list faze you, this really is an easy dish to make. This dish is great served with basmati rice."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 8 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    10 mins
  • COOK

    30 mins

    40 mins


  1. Wash the lentils in cold water until the water runs clear. Put lentils in a pot with enough water to cover; bring to a boil, place a cover on the pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, adding water during cooking as needed to keep covered, until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir onions in hot oil until caramelized, about 20 minutes.
  3. Mix curry paste, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, salt, sugar, garlic, and ginger together in a large bowl; stir into the onions. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato puree, remove from heat and stir into the lentils.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jun 13, 2008

Very tasty. This recipe will vary in taste and heat according to your curry paste. Notes about lentils: I have never cooked lentils before so I thought I would share some tips for others like me. First off, they are very small so don't try to use a strainer with larger holes (Yes, I know this is obvious). Rinse them well until the water runs clear. Wet lentils stick to everything! Try to get them in the right pot the first time. I found a spatula was good for transferring them. Red lentils cook fast! I boiled mine for 2 mins then simmered for about 8 mins. At that point they were mostly tender. I transferred them into the sauce, mixed well and let them finish cooking. They didn't get too mushy like many people have mentioned.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Oct 24, 2012

This will be much better the next time I make it. I over cooked the lentils. They were very mushy. Next time I will check them after 10 minutes. Our family is new to vegan life style, so it's trial and error going forth. This is a great start.

May 11, 2008

I have never sent a review for any recipe that I have tried. But, this recipe deserves one! It is excellent. I used fresh tomatoes and then put them into the caramelized onions. I also simmered all the spices together in a little oil, as taught to me by an Indian cook. Then, tossed in the garlic and ginger; continued for about 1 more minute. Afterwards, I put the tomato and onions into the spice mix. Then, added the lentils... AWESOME!

Sep 17, 2006

I can't believe I never reviewed this recipe. I've been making it once a week for a long time now - it's excellent. The ONLY thing I changed with the recipe was to replace the tomato puree with one can of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Chopped Tomatoes. It gives it a much better texture and the fire roasted tomatoes just add another level of flavor that regular tomatoes don't. I can't believe how many people are making this without curry paste. It's the most important ingredient in a curry. I serve it with jasmine rice and hot naan. Oh, and don't be alarmed if the lentils look rather mushy before you add them to the spices and tomatoes. You haven't done anything wrong, and they'll still taste just as good. :)

Sep 01, 2005

This was really good! I changed a few things... I didn't have any ginger root or curry paste, so I used 1tb of ginger and 1 (extra) TB of curry, also I added a bit more salt at the end.

Mar 30, 2006

Quite good. I've found that the red lentils take about 20-25 minutes to cook thoroughly (no pre-soaking, just rinsing) with the lid slightly ajar.

Jan 10, 2007

This is a wonderful recipe... My spin on it is to add a tablespoon of butter to the simmer in the last step, only use fresh chopped tomatoes, and double the garlic.. I added this mixture to the red lentils and also 10 jumbo shrimp. Delicious!

Oct 23, 2005

I don't usually bother with reviewing, but this was fantastic. I used 1/2 the salt and tomato paste with water. I tossed in good quality frozen green peas to add a little more nutrition.


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  • Calories
  • 192 kcal
  • 10%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 32.5 g
  • 10%
  • Cholesterol
  • 0 mg
  • 0%
  • Fat
  • 2.6 g
  • 4%
  • Fiber
  • 11.3 g
  • 45%
  • Protein
  • 12.1 g
  • 24%
  • Sodium
  • 572 mg
  • 23%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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