Spicy Vegan Lentil Curry
Vegan Lentil Curry with stewed tomato and onions flavored with roasted mustard seeds, spices, and chilies. It may sound a mouthful but you will be surprised how easy and flavorful this simple lentil curry is. This is one of THE most common lentil curry on our weekday dinner menu. Meatless, Vegan, Gluten free.
Two week ago when I shared my old lentil recipe - Daal Tadka.. I decided to also click pictures of our this everyday favorite. Before we deep dive into this Lentil Curry Recipe, I would like to share with you: why this is everyday lentil curry in our home:
1) Easy on stomach. Very lite, vegan and creamy without the creams or nut milks..
2) Also very quick to put together. Ready in 25 minutes or even less if you use pressure cooker. (instructions in notes)
3) Humble, protein-packed vegetarian meal which freezes well, is gluten free, and has potential to load-up with any seasonal veggies you want.
Often vegan lentil curries are loaded with dairy-free creams. Don't get me wrong, I love those curries too. But this one is different and suitable for everyday use. Different in a way that it does not need milks or yogurt or nut milks for creamy texture or flavor. Skin-less lentils like split yellow or pink lentil when cooked properly gets very creamy, and thick. Creamy enough that you don't need anything else...
To make Lentil Curry, I start by cooking the lentil. Split skinless lentil such as Yellow or Pink cook very fast. For this preparation, I like to cook lentil until these start to dissolve. This is my trick to make a creamy base. I add flavor and texture on top with lightly cooked onions and tomatoes with chilies, mustard, and spices. You won't believe how much flavor this 10 minute masala gives to this lentil base.
If you can use pressure cooker, creamy base is ready in about 10 minutes. If you planning to boil, it needs about 25-30 minutes. Good news is, lentil can be prepared 1-2 days in advance. It gets thick as it sits for long which can be fixed while re-heating. Simply dilute with water and adjust seasonings.
Once lentil are cooked and ready... this lentil curry is only 5-10 minutes away. Prepare seasoned tomatoes and onion and wallah! Curry is ready to devour!
I'm telling you, a Lentil's Curry recipe can't get easier and flavorful than this! A side of warm bread or steamed rice and this curry feels like a most comforting meal ever!
I recommend loading curry with seasonal veggies such as small diced carrots, zucchini, or cauliflower. For more texture, I saute veggies with onions and tomatoes. Make it a loaded veggie and protein-full meatless weeknight dinner.
No matter how you serve.. One thing is certain! You will fall in LOVE with the flavors and simplicity of this dish!
Spicy Vegan Lentil Curry
- 1/3 Cup Pink Lentils
- 4-5 Curry Leaf (optional)
- 1/2 Serrano pepper (or small green chili pepper, sliced thin rounds)
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3/4 Cup Yellow Daal (split yellow lentil)
- 1 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste (1 inch ginger and 2 garlic cloves, chopped)
- 2 Tomatoes (ripe roma tomatoes, small chopped)
- 1/2 Red Onion (thin sliced half moons)
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- 3/4 tsp Chili Powder (mild, adjust per taste)
- 1/2 tbsp Mustard Seeds
- 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1-2 Whole Red Chili
- 1.5 tbsp Canola Oil
- 1. Wash lentil in running water until water runs clear. Then boil with 3 cups of fresh batch of water, 1/2 tsp turmeric, and 1/2 tsp salt until lentil are soft almost dissolving. (20-25 minutes). Boil on low-medium heat as yellow lentil tend to boil-over very quickly. Additional Notes: To cook lentil in *Pressure Cooker, follow instruction in notes.
- 2. While lentils are cooking, heat oil in pan, add mustard seeds (**these should start sputtering), then add cumin seeds, onion, whole red chili, curry leaves (if using), garlic and ginger. Fry for 2 minutes or until onions are soft.
- 3. Now add chopped tomatoes with remaining salt. and fry until tomatoes are soft and oil starts to separate. Add half teaspoon of red chili powder and fry for 30 seconds.
- 4. Pour cooked onion-tomato mixture on top of cooked lentil. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Gently fold everything into lentil before serving.
**Keep splatter sheet handy to cover sputtering mustard seeds. Or as soon as seeds start to pop..quickly add rest of ingredients. This lowers the oil temp and seeds don't spread all over the kitchen.
Pressure Cooker: If using pressure cooker, cook lentils with 2.5 cups of water, turmeric, and 1/2 tsp salt for 4-5 minutes. Or check instructions on your Pressure Cooker for lentil cooking time. Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid.
Make-Ahead: To save time prepare Lentil Curry on weekend and refrigerate for up-to 1 week, freeze in small portions up-to 6 months.. Re-heat and enjoy anytime!
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