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vegan red lentil curry served in a brown bowl
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Vegan Red Lentil Curry

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Author: Madhavi

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium tomato, pureed
  • 1 serrano pepper, diced
  • 1.5 inch fresh ginger, mined
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder ( mild variety)
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1.5 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • ½ cup thick coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoon cashew cream + more to top the curry
  • 2 cups water (if making in instant pot use 1.5 cups)
  • lemon juice to taste
  • ½ cup fresh coriander, finely chopped with stems

Cashew Cream -

  • 8 whole cashew
  • ¼ cup water

Instructions

Cashew Cream

  • Soak 8 whole cashew in quarter cup of hot water for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes blend it till smooth and cream paste.

Stove Top Method -

  • Heat a wide, shallow pan and add coconut oil. Add cumin seeds and let cook for 10-15 seconds. Now add the finely chopped serrano pepper, ginger and garlic and cook for a minute. Add finely diced onion and pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes till onion turns slightly soft.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, curry powder, coriander powder and salt. Cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the pureed tomato and cook for a minute. Now add the red lentils, salt and water. Give a mix and cook in medium flame for about 15 minutes.
  • The lentils should be cooked through, but not overly soft.
  • Add garam masala and tomato paste and cook for a minute.  Add coconut milk and cashew cream and cook for 5 more minutes. If the curry feels thick, add some more water.
  • Taste the curry and adjust the salt. Finally add a handful of chopped cilantro and a big squeeze of lemon juice. Let the curry rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Instant Pot Method -

  • Select the saute mode on the instant pot and heat coconut oil. Add cumin seeds and cook for 30 seconds. Add the finely chopped serrano pepper, ginger and garlic and cook for a minute. Add finely diced onion and pinch of salt. Cook for 3 minutes till onion turns slightly soft.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, curry powder, garam masala, coriander powder and salt. Cook for 30 seconds. If the spices are sticking to the pot, splash some water.
  • Add the pureed tomato and tomato paste and cook for a minute. Add the washed red lentils, water, coconut milk and cashew cream
  • Mix all the ingredients, making sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cancel the saute mode, secure the lid and adjust the vent to sealing position. Pressure cook on high for 4 minutes.
  • After the 4 minutes timer has completed, wait for 10 minutes to release the pressure.
  • Add the coriander leaves and lemon juice. Mix the curry, taste and adjust the salt.
  • If you feel the curry is too thick, add some hot water to it.

Notes

The curry thickens after few hours, if that happens add some hot water to thin it out.
Tomato paste is optional, but makes the curry more flavorful.
Adjust the spices according to your taste. 
If you cannot take too much heat, remove the seeds from the serrano pepper.