Curried Lentils

Curried Lentils


  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 3 cups water or stock 
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seed, cracked (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons Garam masala
  • 4 Tablespoons coconut oil (or another neutral flavored oil)
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1½" knob of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 28 oz can of crushed, fire-roasted tomatoes, liquid preserved
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • Kosher salt & cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1½ cups cooked jasmine rice


For the lentils:

  • Rinse and drain the lentils, then add them to a medium saucepan and add water until lentils are covered by 1 inch of water.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20-30 minutes, until lentils are tender.
  • Drain and return to pan with ½ teaspoon of salt. Set aside until ready to use.

For the curry:

  • In a large skillet or Dutch oven heat two tablespoons oil over medium heat.
  • Once the oil is hot and begins to shimmer, add the cracked coriander, chili flakes, and black mustard seeds.
  • Sauté until the mustard seeds begin to pop, then add the turmeric and Garam masala and sauté for 30 seconds until aromatic.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan along with the onions and a pinch of salt and sauté until soft, about 7 minutes.
  • Add garlic and ginger and stir for about 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Add the coconut milk and the prepared lentils and stir.
  • Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens a bit. 
  • Toss in most of the cilantro and season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Serve over jasmine rice and garnish with cilantro.


Cooked lentils can be easily frozen for future recipes, so feel free to cook a few batches at once and store in airtight containers.

To crack coriander seeds use a mortar and pestle, or wrap in a tea towel or plastic bag and lightly crush with a rolling pin. Don't crush them into a powder. A good crack is all they need to release their flavor.