Coconut Lentil Curry

Not sure if COVID-19 has stopped the May celebration of lentils, but I won’t let it stop me.

The following recipe’s name should be something along the lines of Cathy’s Coconut Lentil Curry Recipe Modified from Keith’s Recipe who Modified it from the Endless Meal’s Web Page who Modified it from a Cookbook Called Vij’s at Home. That, my friends, is how recipes and cooking works.

I don’t know what it is about spring and being isolated to avoid fast spreading disease, but I have been motivated the last few weeks to create lentil dishes to change up our regular diet. Lentils are of course a “health” food, and our dear Canada is the world’s leading producer of this mighty pulse. It provides protein, folate, fibre, iron, potassium and manganese. Yum!

Here’s what I did for my version:

What you need:

A big pot
Oil (about 2 tbsp more or less)
Cumin, ground (2 – 3 tbsp)
Coriander, ground (2 – 3 tbsp)
Garlic, 2 heads, finely chopped
2-28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
Ginger, ground (2 – 3 tbsp)
Turmeric, ground (2 tbsp)
4 tsp salt
2 cups dried brown lentils
Cayenne pepper (1 tbsp or to taste)
4 – 6 cups water
400 mL or so coconut milk
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 cup chopped parsley

Spices can be adjusted to your own taste. If uncertain, start with a smaller amount, and build on that as it simmers.

How to:

Heat your oil in your trusty pot. Over medium heat, add you chopped garlic and TEND TO IT. You want it cook, but you don’t want it to burn. After spending the time peeling and chopping two heads of garlic you don’t want to ruin your hard work by burning it. Tending to it means you stand there, wooden spoon in hand and stir it with love until it’s just right. Just right means just on this side of turning golden brown.

Add your spices, cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric, cayenne and salt. Stir. Add your two cans of crushed tomatoes, and stir. Keep the heat up, but watch for splurts and splats of tomato leaping out of the pot. If that happens, lower the temperature.

Add your two cups of rinsed and picked over lentils, and water. Stir. Bring this to the boil, cover, reduce the heat and let it simmer for as long as you can stand it. Watch that it doesn’t get too dry. If it does, add more water. I usually keep the kettle on and add boiling water.

Towards the end of cooking, add your coconut milk and tomatoes. Let this cook for another half hour or so. Finish with about a cup’s worth of chopped parsley.

My predecessors look like they serve this with rice, which would be a perfect pairing.

DON’T FORGET: Imbibe in your favourite beverage. If that has alcohol, all the better. Cheers, friends. I hope you give this recipe a try and let me know how it goes.

Easy Spicy Coconut Lentil Soup

loveyourlentilsBet you didn’t know May is Love your Lentils Month. It is. Chef Michael Smith says so.

cmsA call was made to food bloggers and home chefs to get creative and submit a recipe, so I did – after I took inventory of my spice cupboard to see what I had in there. You probably have all these ingredients too. You probably bought them in 2003 when you tried making an Indian dish at home. And the dish you made was probably really good. But because we live in the world we do, you find it is just easier to order in from your favourite restaurant. There is nothing wrong with that.

But, if you are like me, periodically you want to draw on your inner Michael Smith and create something delicious. I don’t have an awesome pantry, or a Gabe, but I do have my own Michael Walsh that I try to please (placate) with food (so he doesn’t bat an eye when I buy another Coach bag).

These are split red lentils. They were grown in Saskatchewan.

So dig out those spices, buy yourself a bag of red lentils, and make yourself the easiest, tastiest spicy coconut lentil soup on the planet… North America…. Edmonton for sure!

What makes this easy? I use whole things. You will not buy a big can of diced tomatoes and use only 3/4 of it. You’ll dump in the whole thing.

Spicy Coconut Lentil Soup

What you need:

Big Pot
Wooden spoon
1- 450 g bag of red lentils
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large red onion, chopped
1 head garlic, peeled, chopped
1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped (use more if you like to sweat while you eat)
1 generous squeeze of grated ginger-in-a-tube (or if you have the patience, buy a knob of ginger and grate 1 tbsp – good luck – if you can do this with out cussing, I commend you)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric (TIP: do not EVER put turmeric in your coffee grinder. It will turn it yellow for life)
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1- 796 mL can of diced tomatoes
8-cups chicken broth (I use chicken bouillon and mix with boiling water)
1- 400 mL can of unsweetened coconut milk
1-lime, rind grated, juice squeezed. TIP: Squeeze AWAY from the eyes or wear safety glasses. Trust me. I speak from experience. Blink, tear, blink, tear, blink).

Here’s what you do:

Empty the bag of lentils in a sieve. Rinse under cold running water until you think the lentils are rinsed properly. I don’t know how long that really takes, but I know I enjoy sticking my fingers in the lentils while this happens. It’s my thing. Some things you can’t explain. So don’t ask.

In  your large pot, put in the oil, add the chopped onion and cook over a medium heat until they are translucent.

Add your chopped garlic, the chopped serrano pepper(s), and all your spices.

TIP: If you want to pretend you have your own cooking show, it’s best to put all your spices in little glass dishes, and add one at a time. You can talk to the wall and describe what you are doing. OR, if you are bit short of time, put all the spices in one bowl, and dump in the pot.


TIP: If you live in an airless apartment, you may want to shut the doors to your bedrooms and closets about now so the lovely cooking smells don’t permeate your clothes for the next 2 months.

Add the can of dice tomatoes, and 8 cups of chicken broth.


Let this simmer for 25 minutes, and when the red lentils are soft, add (after vigorous shaking) the can of coconut milk.

P1020309TIP: Check and make sure it’s unsweetened. If it is sweetened, make yourself some chi-chi’s. Phone me. We can make this soup later.

Simmer a bit more. Then, if you have an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. This step isn’t necessary, but I’m trying to get value for my immersion blender, so I use it at every opportunity.

P1020311For a bit of artsy-flourish and tastiness, add the juice of one lime, stir, then add a sprinkle of grated lime rind on top of the soup as it is served. You will impress people.

Serve in big bowls.

Afterwards, as you bask in the glow of hot serrano peppers, you can be satisfied knowing that the lentils you just ate are a very good source of potassium, protein, and fibre.

Enjoy. L’chaim!