Coconut Red Lentil Curry (Masoor Dhal)

Coconut Red Lentil Curry (Masoor Dhal)

A rich and spicy curry dish which is often paired with rice. Lentils are a staple in India, and a relatively high source of vegetarian protein. The level of heat can be adjusted by using different peppers instead of Thai peppers. This dish borders being a stew, the balance can also be tipped more towards soup by adding more broth or less lentils.


Grinding your own curry spices in a mortal and pestle is an excellent way to mix them and get great uniform flavor.


Having the coconut milk ready to pour in once the curry spices are cooked with the onion and oil helps ensure you don’t burn your mix.

On Rice



  • Swap out red lentils for other types of lentils, or even split peas.
  • Add more vegetable broth (or water), or less lentils to make more of a soup.
  • Replace Thai peppers with other types of peppers for a milder dish (or remove some of all of the seeds using mostly just Thai pepper skin/flesh). Thai peppers with seeds make a dish thats hotter than a “5”.
  • 6 bowls
  • 20 minutes
  • 30 minutes


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • few splashes peanut oil
  • 1/2 TSP ground cumin
  • 1/2 TSP turmeric
  • 1/2 TSP garam masala
  • 1/2 TSP paprika
  • 1/2 TSP chili powder
  • 1/2 TSP cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 TSP coriander
  • 1/2 TSP fenugreek
  • 1/2 TSP crushed chili peppers
  • 14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 inch cube frozen ginger
  • 1 Fresh Red Thai Pepper
  • 900 ml vegetable broth
  • 1.5 cups red lentils, washed


  1. grind all dry spices in mortar and pestle
  2. caramelize onion in peanut oil in a dutch oven or large pot
  3. drop dry spices into onion as it finishes caramelizing, cook spices in oil for a minute
  4. add coconut milk
  5. add finely chopped garlic and grate the frozen ginger into the pot
  6. finely slice the Thai peppers and then crush them in the mortal and pestle (do this AFTER the dry spices) and add to the pot
  7. add vegetable broth
  8. add the lentils
  9. bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer until the lentils pop (red lentils don’t take long)

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