Most of us have tried a curry dish at some point in our life.

Curry is a dish that originated in India and includes a warm sauce flavored with various spices and a protein and/or vegetable. It has hints of ginger and garlic and is often served over basmati rice. It’s a cozy favorite that everyone should learn to master in their own kitchen.

Lentils are the perfect addition to a curry. They are a nutrient powerhouse: high in protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. When cooked properly they have a smooth, delicious texture smothered in a cozy curry coconut sauce. In some cultures lentils are considered lucky and will bring good fortune and wealth to those who consume them on New Year’s Eve.

Tips for the best red lentil curry

To make the best red lentil curry at home, follow these tips:

1. Sauté your garlic, ginger, and spices to increase flavor.

Before adding in any liquid (such as broth or coconut milk), cook your spices over the stove in some oil and chopped potatoes. This makes the spices more aromatic and flavorful. Use a high heat oil such as avocado, canola, or sunflower. In this recipe sweet potatoes are seared with the oil, spices, garlic, and ginger to create a richer flavor.

2. Use full-fat coconut milk.

To create the richest, creamy flavor in your curry, use full-fat coconut milk. This is what is used in most curry dishes to create a sweetness that is the perfect balance to the spices.

3. Choose the best lentils for your dish.

There are various types of lentils available in a range of colors. All have different cook times. Brown lentils are a common lentil that has a natural, earthy flavor and take 30-40 minutes to cook. Green lentils have a stronger, robust flavor and take the longest to cook (45 minutes generally). Red lentils have a nutty and sweet flavor and cook the fastest (less than 30 minutes).

I recommend red lentils for most curry dishes because their flavor profile balances the spices and coconut milk. They also are one of the quickest to cook which is convenient for weeknight meals.

4. Create balanced flavors

We have all heard of the 5 flavor elements: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. This is important to remember when making curry because we can create the perfect balance of flavors using various ingredients. For example, the addition of lime juice is a sour, acidic flavor that balances the sweetness of the coconut milk and a dash of maple syrup.

A spoonful of peanut butter creates a umami flavor that deepens the curry and balances out all other flavors. Together the 5 flavor elements create a balanced, lifted dish.

Healthy curry

5. Boost the flavor of your basmati rice.

Cook your basmati rice with various whole spices including cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and cumin seeds if possible. This flavor boost makes the rice much tastier and a great pairing with the curry.

Learn more about making the best basmati rice in this recipe post here.

6. Save some for leftovers!

Curry is a great dish for leftovers because the flavor actually gets better with time. Leftover curry can be stored in the fridge usually for 5 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Craving curry?

Try out Allies recipe for The Best Red Lentil Sweet Potato Curry here. It’s a cozy, delicious dish that you will want to make over and over again! If you have more questions about making the best red lentil curry please reach out to her –

Do you have a favorite curry recipe? Leave us a comment below, we would love to hear from you.

2 thoughts on “How to Make the Best Red Lentil Curry”
  1. Can you get red lentils at a regular grocery store, like Publix? I guess I never looked before. This looks so yummy 😋

    1. Hello Melody, Thank you for your comment. Yes, you should be able to find red lentils locally at your grocery store. Walmart sells a 32 oz. package of Masoor Dal split red lentils for only $2.98 online. That makes this a very healthy and inexpensive dish. – Silke

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the best blog stories into your inbox!