Skip to content

Red Lentil Curry

I’m only putting a recipe on this blog once I’ve done it a few times, confirmed I’ve got the recipe right, and am convinced I could eat it frequently. This is comfortably the nicest main course I’ve cooked to date.

Red Lentil Curry

Also known as Tarka Dal. Adapted from the Rainbow Plant Life website.

(Single page recipe to print out, PDF)

This takes about three-quarters of an hour to make, although quite a lot of that is just watching it cook. Note that vegetable stock is required, which may need additional preparation. My thoughts on that can be read here. And you’ll want it with rice, or naan/flatbread, I’d imagine.


Prep base (combine)

  • 4 teaspoonfuls garlic paste
  • 6 teaspoonfuls ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoonful ground turmeric

Prep spices (combine)

  • 1 teaspoonful ground cumin
  • 5 teaspoonful ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoonful chili powder
  • 2 teaspoonfuls curry powder
  • 1 teaspoonful garam masala
  • Salt and pepper

Prep rest (separate)

  • Coconut oil
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 200g red lentils
  • 400g can tomatoes
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 6 teaspoonfuls unsweetened creamy almond butter
  • 4 teaspoonfuls lemon juice
  • Coriander leaves


  1. Heat a small amount of coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add base (left) and cook for 1–2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the spices (left) and cook for 30–60 seconds, tossing frequently to prevent burning.
  4. Pour in the vegetable stock. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pot.
  5. Add in the lentils and can of tomatoes and mix well. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid.
  6. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through and have mostly softened. If the lentils are not quite soft at the end, add a little water and cook for another 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid and stir in the can of coconut milk, the almond butter, along with more salt and pepper.
  8. Continue cooking on low heat, uncovered for 5 to 8 minutes, until the curry has thickened and is creamy.
  9. Finally, stir in the lemon juice and coriander leaves, and serve.