Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Coconut curried red lentils

Will you kill me if I post yet another lentil recipe? I just don't get sick of them. It's an addiction.

red lentils

Luckily, unlike many of my other addictions, this one is cheap and healthy. (Don't look at me like that - I'm talking about my love of expensive cookware and fluffy cupcakes).

naan + red lentils
{like almost all lentil recipes, it isn't particularly photogenic}

This recipe combines lentils and coconut milk, and creates an insanely delicious meal. It smells heavenly too. Like many Indian dishes, it has a somewhat intimidating list of ingredients, but if you pre-measure your spices you won't run into any problems.

This is what I think of as a weekend slow cooker recipe, because it only takes two hours so you can't go to work and leave it. If you're in a rush, I think you could easily just go ahead and simmer it gently in a pot on the stove. It will probably take approximately 45 minutes if you choose to do it this way.

Coconut, Tomato and Lentil Dhal (serves 4, from Best Ever Recipes for your Slow Cooker)
30 ml/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, very finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 carrot, diced
10 ml/2 tsp cumin seeds
10 ml/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
2.5 cm/1 inch piece fresh ginger root, grated
10 ml/2 tsp ground turmeric
5 ml/1 tsp mild chili powder
5 ml/1 tsp garam masala*
225g/8 oz/1 cup split red lentils
400 ml/14 fl oz/1 2/3 cups boiling vegetable stock
400 ml/14 flz oz/1 2/3 cups coconut milk (I used light and it was perfectly fine)
5 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (I used one can of diced tomatoes instead)
juice of 2 limes
60 ml/4 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
salt and ground black pepper
25g/1 oz/1/4 cup sliced, toasted almonds

1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until softened, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the garlic, carrot, cumin, mustard seeds and ginger to the pan. Cook for 3 -4 minutes, stirring, until the seeds begin to pop, the aromas are released and the carrot softens slightly.

3. Add the ground turmeric, chili powder, and garam masala to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, or until the flavors begin to mingle.

4. Tip the mixture into the ceramic cooking pot. Add the lentils, stock, coconut milk and the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well and cover the pot with the lid.

5. Cook on high for 2 hours, or until the lentils are soft, stirring halfway through the cooking time. Stir the lime juice and the cilantro into the dhal, check the seasoning and cook for an additional 30 minutes (if you're making it on the stove, do this after about 35 minutes and cook for an additional 10 minutes). Serve with toasted almonds (I skipped this because I'm lazy).
*Good garam masala is the key to this recipe. The spice mixture is readily available at Indian markets. If you aren't lucky enough to have a source, you can read a recipe for the mixture here.

Naan recipe coming tomorrow...


  1. my sis is a lentil addict and has been talking about how good lentils are. i've never eaten them, so i'm gonna try this recipe and see what all the hub bub is about. thanx for the recipe!

  2. I love LENTILS. Never enough lentil recipes for me. I'll def try this. And I can't wait for the naan recipe tomorrow...

  3. I love, love, love, lentils! I can't wait to try this a.s.a.p.!! It looks awsome, and I love any kind of Indian, curry, tumeric, garam masala... Thanks for sharing!

  4. Yum, I can't wait to try it! I just got a huge shipment in from The spice House with plenty of freshly ground and whole spices from India. I haven't used them yet and it's already been a few weeks! This is the perfect opportunity.

  5. i've always been slightly scared of lentils, but i'm not sure if i've actually ever tried them. this might have just convinced me.

  6. YUM! I want to try this but my BF hates lentils which is crazy I know!

  7. i love lentils. making this weekend ... or maybe sooner.

  8. Dammit, R, you're giving me love handles! This looks delicious!

  9. yes!!! A recipe that I can eat and that looks amazing!!!! thank you love.

  10. yum! will definitely have to try!

  11. looking forward to the naan - would love to make that at home!

  12. Forgiven already! I love lentils and this recipe looks very tasty. I think I just need mustard seeds because i'm not sure I have any. It could be a lentil day in my household very soon!

  13. This looks healthy and lovely - I bet it fills the house with mouth-watering deliciousness. I can't wait to try it, as I am commited to more meatless meals in '09. And, as always, lovely photos!

  14. I tend not to eat lentils, but I would totally eat this! ;)

  15. Rachel this sounds very good and I love coconut. xoxo

  16. Yum! I think my husband would eat this too, which is great. thanks for sharing.

  17. add me to the lentil-lovin' horde - gotta love earthy-satisfying foods that still leave you feeling healthy. really looking forward to the naan recipe, as well!

    ps: i bet a pickled grape dessert would be great with this... ;)

  18. I have never cooked with lentils but you're really making me want to try! This looks DELISH!

  19. Yum! Where do you get your Indian spices in LA? anywhere special? I usually just go the lazy route of the packaged Trader Joe's Indian meals (the horror).
    My ingredient du jour is quinoa. Loving it. Next up, lentils.

  20. Love that this is a crockpot recipe! I think I'll try it tomorrow, thanks :).

  21. This is on the stovetop right now - and it smells AMAZING! Thanks for such a great recipe - can't wait to taste.

  22. Oh, this is perfect! I have a bag of lentils in my pantry that I didn't know what to do with--until now!

  23. Wow, this looks delicious. I must try it, Thanks for the inspiration!

  24. I will never get tired of lentils! Good protein + gluten-free :)

  25. Mmmmm... I have this simmering in the slow-cooker right now. And I can't wait to eat it! I will probably post the project on my blog (full credit to you of course)... Love your photos and your posts. Thanks for the recipe.

  26. Hello Rachel, I just finish cooking your recipe its 12 at night and I had a big plate of it :-p Is just amazing the mix of flavours once you put the lime and the cilantro.. Thanks for this wonderful post.. U made my day!!!!

  27. If more of us Westerners ate lentils I'd think we wouldnt have the obesity crisis enveloping our societies.

  28. I finally made this and I just wanted to let you know how great it was! My husband and I loved it. And he doesn't even like coconut. This will be going into our regular dinner list.


Trying captchas this time - better or worse than having to log in to comment? Let me know! Sorry for all the hoops but the spam has been terrible lately!