coconut and lentil curry

Coconut And Lentil Curry

This coconut and lentil curry is absolutely delicious – mild and sweet it is sure to please any crowd.

coconut and lentil curry profile

This coconut and lentil curry or dhal is a colourful way to use up pantry ingredients. It’s beautifully smooth and flavourful. An excellent way to use up that half bag of split lentils you’ve got at the back of your cupboard.

I love serving this with some fresh and fluffy pilau rice, or some of my chewy wholemeal naan breads. Scooping up the flavourful sauce in a hot naan is divine. It’s hard not to eat the whole pan of this curry.

I’ve used canned chopped tomatoes in this recipe, but if it’s summer and you have a glut of fresh tomatoes feel free to use them instead. I generally use about 600g of fresh tomatoes in place of the canned ones. Don’t worry about peeling them, just loosely chop and use in place of the canned variety in the recipe.

Looking for some more lentil recipes I’ve got a great recipe for Caribbean inspired dhal that’s totally different to your plain old lentil curry. Or why not check out my peanut and red lentil dhal that’s deliciously decadent.


Serves 4
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

This meal is around 85% less polluting than the average UK meal.

  • Eating this recipe will save around 2.50 KG CO2e per person.
  • That’s equivalent to the emissions produced driving 20.66 KM in a modern car.
How do I calculate this?


  • 250 g Red Split Lentils
  • 1 Head Garlic (peeled)
  • 2 Medium Onions (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 1 1-inch Piece Ginger (peeled)
  • 1 Medium Red Chilli (roughly chopped)
  • 1 (400g) Can Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 (400g) Can Coconut Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Coriander Seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Turmeric
  • 2 Pods Cardamon
  • 1 Stick Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil


  • Place the 1 head of peeled garlic, 2 chopped onions, 1 chopped red chilli and 1 thumb of peeled ginger into a blender and blitz into a chunky paste.
  • Heat the 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a deep pan over a medium heat. Toss in the 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, 2 cardamon pods and stick of cinnamon into the pan. Toast the spices for around a minute until they begin to give off a fragrant aroma.
  • Now add the curry paste into the pan. Fry for about 5 minutes until the onions are soft and the paste has lost most of its moisture.
  • Add the 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon turmeric into the pan. Then pour in the 1 can of coconut milk, 1 can chopped tomatoes, 250g red lentils and 100 ml of water. Stir the pan to combine all the ingredients then bring the pan to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft with a little bite. The sauce should have thickened considerably, if it's too thick just add a little more water and stir to loosen.
  • Season to the sauce to taste and serve with fresh basmati rice or a warm naan.
5 from 2 votes

    Want more tastiness?

    Subscribe here and I'll send you my new recipes as soon as they're published.

    You'll also get access to my exclusive fan favorites ebook!

    Leave a Reply


    • Morgan

      March 23, 2021 at 6:58 pm

      This was divine! My whole family loved it – thanks Hugo! We didn’t have any naan, only some rye bread which was actually surprisingly tasty, would recommend. My own stipulation was that after blitzing the curry paste, the instructions don’t ever mention adding it into the pan at any point, so I just toasted the aromatics and then fried the paste for 5 mins before proceeding with step 3. Obviously still turned out delicious but just wanted to point it out!

      • hugo

        March 23, 2021 at 7:03 pm

        That’s great to hear Morgan. Ah yes the curry paste step is missing! My apologies, thanks for being smart and figuring out on your own. I’ve update the recipe now.