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Spicy Thai Lentil Curry | moonshinerecipe.org





Spicy, bold, and incredibly flavorful, this Thai red lentil curry is proof that humble ingredients can work together to create magic! With a simple ingredients list, and no need to even sauté, this recipe works great for a weeknight dinner, or for meal prep.

I am a total sucker for Thai curry flavors! Whether it’s a Thai curry sweet potato soup or an Instant Pot Thai chicken curry, I love the assertive flavors from simple ingredients.


For extra tasty recipes and to see what I’ve been getting as much as you may observe me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter .

thai lentil curry mixed with rice in a bowl

This Thai red lentil curry comes from a desire to include more lentil recipes into our dinner routine, and I was absolutely blown away by the flavors!


Reasons you’ll ♡ Thai red lentil curry

  • it’s incredibly simple to prepare, yet delivers huge flavors
  • it can be made with fish sauce (for a more traditional combination of ingredients) or without for a vegan version
  • you can meal prep it two different ways

Recipe video

Watch the video below to see how to prep this curry! You can find more recipe videos on my YouTube channel.

ingredients required to make thai lentil curry

What is Thai curry?

Thai curry is a popular dish originating in Thailand made from curry paste, coconut milk, meat or seafood, and vegetables. There are many different types of Thai curry including red, green, Panang and Massaman curry, and the exact method of cooking each varies by chef (1).

Whereas Indian curries are thicker and made with a mixture of tomatoes, onions and dry spices, Thai curry derives its flavor from a mixture of herbs including shallots, lemongrass, garlic, galangal and (of course) Thai chiles (2).

My goal with this recipe is to honor the traditional flavors of Thai red curry, but make a vegan-friendly option using ingredients easily found in North American kitchens. Lentils are not normally used in authentic Thai recipes that I’ve tried, and this recipe is by no means an authentic representation of Thai cuisine.

Ingredient notes

  • lentils– the curry as pictured uses red lentils, which are quicker to cook, however I’ve also successfully made this using green lentils (see notes below). Do not use canned or pre-cooked lentils for this recipe.
  • coconut milk- use a good quality, full-fat coconut milk for the creamiest, most luxurious sauce
  • red curry paste- if you are vegan, be sure to check the label as some curry paste may contain shellfish. Thai Kitchen and Cock Brand are two brands I use and neither of them contain shellfish.
  • fish sauce- if you are vegan, you can swap for soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos.
  • sugar- I do like my curry a touch sweet; if you know you do not, try with half the amount of sugar (you can always add more to taste).

collage image showing before and after cooking thai lentil curry

Step by step directions

Scroll to the recipe card for ingredient quantities.

  1. Combine ingredients- In a 4 quart or larger pot, combine the onion, coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, fish sauce (or soy sauce), brown sugar, stock and red lentils. Stir to combine, cover, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer.
  2. Simmer- Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring and using the spoon to mash the curry paste into the mixture (this is important, otherwise you could have chunks of curry paste in your curry- not great!). When curry is thickened and lentils are softened, the curry is ready to serve.

Recipe notes

Use red or green lentils

I am happy to report that you can use either red or green lentils in this recipe. I personally preferred the texture of the red lentils, because they became so soft, thick and creamy as they cooked. Green lentils require a longer cook time (45 minutes), and have more of a chew to them, but were still really tasty in this recipe.

Making it vegan

If you are looking to make this 100% vegan, it’s easily done!

  1. Make sure your curry paste is vegan and does not contain shellfish
  2. Swap the fish sauce for soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos

Important- mash the curry paste

To ensure that the curry paste mixes evenly into the curry while it cooks, use the back of a wooden spoon, and mash it against the side of the pot.

As the curry heats, the curry paste warms up and becomes easier to mash in. Look for any lumps of curry paste, and mash them into the side of the pot. Repeat a few times until it’s completely dissolved.

Optional extras

This is meant to be a bare-bones basic curry recipe, but you can add in some extra ingredients to take the flavors to another level!

  • Kaffir lime leaves– if you can find them, add 1-2 lime leaves into the curry, pulling them out before you serve. This adds a delicious citrus flavor to the curry, without being sour.
  • Thai basil– this type of basil has a decidedly licoricey flavor about it and adds bright, fresh flavors to the curry.
  • Vegetables- yes, you can add vegetables to this curry, but do not do it until the curry paste has been completely incorporated in. I’ve simmered the mixture for 10 minutes, then added some fresh green beans on top, simmering for another 10-15 minutes.

thai lentil curry in blue pot with spoon

Serve it with

Meal prep tips

This a great recipe to use for meal prep because it tastes even better on day two! Here’s how to safely store and reheat your Thai lentil curry:

Reheat meals

  • fridge- cool completely, then portion out into meal prep containers with rice, or store in a single, large portion. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.
  • reheat- heat individual portions in the microwave until steaming hot; heat larger portions in a pot on the stove over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until warmed through.
  • freezer- cool completely, then portion out into meal prep containers with rice, or in larger plastic or glass freezer jars (leave room for expansion in the jars, and leave lids ajar until fully frozen). Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • thaw- overnight in the fridge; depending on the quality of your meal prep containers, you may be able to microwave from frozen on low heat.

Check out my favorite meal prep containers.

Prep ahead freezer or fridge packs

Assemble the ingredients ahead and store in the fridge or freezer- that way when you go to cook, you simply dump into the pot, no measuring required!

  1. Assemble the onion, coconut milk, stock, curry paste, brown sugar and fish sauce ahead and store in a freezer bag, reusable silicone bag or meal prep container.
    • If using red lentils- do not add.
    • If using green lentils- you may add them to the bag.
  2. Freeze for up to 3 months, refrigerate for up to 4 days.
  3. Thaw (if necessary), then dump into the pot. Add red lentils if needed. Cover and cook as directed.

Find my favorite freezer containers here!

thai lentil curry in bowl with cilantro and rice

More lentil recipes

Spicy Thai Lentil Curry

Course: Dinner

Cuisine: Thai

Keyword: gluten-free, lentils,, meal prep, vegan

Calories: 204kcal

Author: Denise Bustard

Servings: 8

Spicy, bold, and incredibly flavorful, this Thai red lentil curry is proof that humble ingredients can work together to create magic! With a simple ingredients list, and no need to even sauté, this recipe works great for a weeknight dinner, or for meal prep.

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time30 mins

Total Time45 mins

Instructions

  • Combine ingredients- In a 4 quart or larger pot, combine the onion, coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, fish sauce (or soy sauce), brown sugar, stock and red lentils. Stir to combine, cover, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer.

  • Simmer- Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring and using the spoon to mash the curry paste into the mixture (this is important, otherwise you could have chunks of curry paste in your curry- not great!). When curry is thickened and lentils are softened, the curry is ready to serve.

Notes

1- red or green curry paste may be used in this recipe. I’ve tested using Thai Kitchen and Cock brands of curry paste. If vegan, ensure the curry paste does not contain shellfish.
2- if vegan, use soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos.
3- this curry is ever so slightly sweet; if you do not enjoy a sweet curry, cut back to half and taste. You can always add it in after!
4- you may use uncooked red or green lentils in this curry. If using green lentils, increase the cook time to 45 minutes, or until softened to your liking.
5- serving size is strictly an estimate; nutritional information does not include rice or other suggested accompaniments.
Storage
Cool curry completely, then portion out in meal prep containers with rice and steamed veggies, OR leave it as a larger portion.

  • refrigerate for up to 4 days
  • freeze for up to 3 months

Reheating
Heat individual portions in the microwave until steaming hot. Heat larger portions in a pot on the stove over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until warmed through.
If frozen, depending on the quality of your meal prep container, you may be able to reheat from frozen on low heat. Otherwise, thaw and reheat in the microwave until steaming hot.
Freezer packs
You can assemble all ingredients except for the red lentils (green can be added) ahead in a sturdy freezer bag (1 gallon), meal prep container or silicone bag. Squeeze as much air out as possible.

  • freeze for up to 3 months
  • thaw before dumping into a pot (add red lentils if needed)
  • cook as directed above in this recipe card.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup (see note 5 | Calories: 204kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 304mg | Potassium: 367mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 268IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 3mg






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