Thai Lentil Curry (Vegetarian/Vegan/Gluten-free!)

Delicious Thai Lentil Curry!
Delicious Thai Lentil Curry!. D.Schmidt for About.com
    55 mins
Ratings

I like to make this curry at least once every two weeks - it's one of my new favorites!  Comforting, richly flavored, with the meaty texture of lentils (and lots of protein), plus garden vegetables make this dish a true dinner treat.  This dish can be made with either green or yellow lentils - French green lentils are my absolute favorite. I love to serve it with mounds of savory coconut rice (see Super-Easy Coconut Rice in a Rice Cooker, or Easy Coconut Rice, stove-top).  I've tested this dish out on meat-eaters, and they loved it just as much as the veggie crowd.  Enjoy!

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup green or yellow lentils (I used French Organic Green Lentils)
  • 3 cups faux chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 thumb-size pieces fresh ginger, sliced into matchsticks
  • optional: 1 red chili, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 4-5 green cardamoms ground in a coffee grinder (including the shells) OR 1/3 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. whole cumin seed
  • 2 Tbsp. (wheat-free) soy sauce
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 small orange or yellow bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into chunks (see photo)
  • generous handful fresh coriander, basil or mint (your choice)
  • freshly-ground black pepper to serve
  • 1-2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

How to Make It

  1. Heat a medium-size pot over high heat.  Add the oil and swirl around, then add the onion, garlic, ginger and chili (if using).  Stir-fry 1 minute to release the fragrance.
  2. Add the stock, lentils, and bay leaves.  Stir and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the dry spices: turmeric, cardamom, coriander, and ground cumin (reserve cumin seed for later).  Also add the soy sauce and stir well.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover (you want a good simmer) for 30 minutes, or until lentils are just becoming tender.
  1. Add the carrot, orange or yellow pepper and whole cumin.  Cover and continue simmering 10 minutes.
  2. Add zucchini and continue simmering another 6 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are tender..
  3. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1/2 cup coconut milk.  Test-test the curry.  If not salty or flavorful enough, add more soy sauce or salt.  If too spicy or salty, add more coconut milk or a squeeze of lime or lemon juice. 
  4. Serve piping hot topped with chopped fresh herbs and finish with ground black pepper.  Accompany with my Super-Easy Coconut Rice in a Rice Cooker, or Easy Coconut Rice, stove-top., or Thai jasmine rice

Cooking Tip: If your lentils are taking longer to cook (this will depend on how large and thick they are), you may need to add 1 more cup of stock.