This amazingly zingy red lentil curry will brighten your dinner all year round. It’s gently flavored with a mixture of turmeric, paprika and cumin but the real flavor comes from piles of fresh ginger and garlic. It’s not too spicy, not too intense and can be adjusted to your liking. Plus, it’s vegetarian and vegan friendly.
If you are skeptical of spicy Indian curries, this red lentil curry just might be the one to convert you. With 6 whole garlic cloves and a massive piece of ginger, this curry isn’t too heavy to be eaten during the spring and summer. The lentils should be soft and tender in a thin broth and you can easily convert this into a soup by adding a cup of vegetable broth and blending the whole curry in a food processor. If you do like your curry spicy simply add ½ teaspoon more of the paprika and chili powder.
Indian Red Lentil Curry
1 large yellow onion
1 2 inch piece fresh ginger
6 garlic cloves
2 whole tomatoes
3 cups water
1 cup dried red lentils
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
Rinse the lentils in cold water and then soak for 30 minutes.
Peel and finely chop the garlic, ginger and onion. Roughly chop the tomatoes into ¼ inch cubes.
In a large soup pot with a lid, combine 3 cups water, ginger, tomatoes, lentils and chili powder. Bring to a boil, uncovered and you’ll want to skim some of the foam off the top with the back of a wooden spoon.
Add the turmeric, turn the flame down to low and simmer, covered, for 35 minutes. When the lentils have softened, add the salt and use a wooden spoon to mash the lentils or pulse with an immersion blender.
Meanwhile in a small nonstick pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, paprika and cumin and fry for 2 minutes, immediately remove from flame. Add the spiced oil to the pot, stir for one minute to combine and serve with basmati rice or naan bread and parsley garnish.
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Photos by Ally Jane Grossan