February 2024 Recipe of the Month

Spicy Red Curry Lentils

(Stovetop version)

     Adapted by Shirley Mah Kooyman.
This recipe was adapted from an Instant Pot version published by pinchofyum.com.  It is very spicy, but, oh so delicious if you’re a fan of spicy food. The dish comes together very quickly.
Instead of rice you can serve this dish over toast points.

The red curry paste that I prefer is the Thai brand ‘Maesri’ which can be found in Asian grocery stores. In Minnesota I’ve even purchased it at Cub Foods. Any unused curry paste and coconut milk can be frozen for future use. I freeze the portions in smaller containers.


2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1” piece of fresh ginger, minced
1 ½ cups dry green lentils
2 carrots, peeled & diced (1/4” pieces)
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 Tablespoons Thai red curry paste (a good brand is Maesri). See note above.
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon curry powder (store bought or make your own, recipe below*)
½ teaspoon turmeric
4 ½ cups water
½ cup pasta sauce (tomato base)
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk, shake can well before measuring out
2 Tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
a few sprinkles of cayenne pepper, optional (add if you wish extra spicy)
Salt to taste

Serve over rice.




  1. In a large pot that can hold at least 8 cups of liquid, heat the olive oil until hot. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 ½ minutes on medium heat.
  2. Then add in the rest of the ingredients except for coconut milk, parsley, cilantro, cayenne and salt. Cook for 25 – 30 minutes more over medium heat until the lentils are tender; stirring often to prevent lentils from sticking to bottom of pot. Add more water if necessary.
  3. Once the lentils and carrots are softened, mix in coconut milk, parsley, cilantro, cayenne pepper and salt. Remove from heat. Serve over rice. If it’s too spicy add a dollop of yogurt to mellow the spiciness.
  4. Serves 6.


* Make your own curry powder (recipe from minimalistbaker.com):

   2 Tablespoons ground coriander
   2 Tablespoons ground cumin
   1 ½ Tablespoons ground turmeric
   2 teaspoons ground ginger
   1 teaspoon dry mustard
   1 teaspoon cinnamon
   ½ teaspoon black pepper
   ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
   ½ cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer and store mixture in a jar. Makes 1/3 cup of curry powder.