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Red Lentil Coconut Curry

This amazing and hearty Red Lentil Coconut Curry is delicious, easy and super yum. Plus, I have an instant pot version for you to make this recipe under 30 minutes.
5 from 13 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: 30-minute vegan dinner, coconut lentil curry, easy lentil, Instant pot lentil, red lentil curry, red lentil recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 286kcal
Author: Sophie


  • Instant pot


  • 2 tbsp oil (divided)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 cup dried, washed and rinsed red lentil
  • 7 oz frozen spinach (200g or approximately a cup)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes or 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 small eggplant diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 can coconut milk


  • cilantro and lime juice


Red Lentil Coconut Curry in Instant Pot

  • Bring your instant pot to a saute mode. Add half of the oil and add veggies. Saute for a while, and set aside. In the same pan, blister cherry tomatoes or chopped tomatoes and set aside with the eggplant. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Deglaze the inner pot, and heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Now add cumin seeds and allow it
    to splutter. Do not let them turn black or burn. (It’s also called Tadka in India.) If you want, keep half of the tadka aside for adding as a garnish. On the rest half of tadka or fried cumin, add onion, garlic and saute.
  • After about 30 seconds to 1-minute, the mixture will look translucent and tender. Now
    add curry powder, and allow it to blend with the veggies. Next, add lentils, tomatoes or crushed tomatoes, spinach, stock, salt and pepper, and set the instant pot into a pressure cook mode and for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, (allow natural pressure release) open the lid. Stir the lentil curry well, and add in sautéed eggplants and tomatoes. Mix in coconut milk, bring the curry to a boil, and turn off the heat. Now garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, and remaining cumin tadka before serving. Enjoy!

Red Lentil Coconut Curry in Stovetop

  • If using stovetop method, heat a large saucepan or pot and add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the oil over medium heat. Splutter the cumin seeds and fry for 30 seconds till the seeds darken and are fragrant.
  • Do not let them turn black or burn. Now add the chopped garlic, onion and sauté until tender. Finally, add the curry powder and allow it to blend well with the mixture and release the aroma.
  • Add the lentils, spinach, stock and crushed tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and allow the lentils to cook in a gently simmering broth veggie mix for 15 to 20 minutes. Remember that the lentils should be tender but not falling apart by the end of the cooking time.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet. Add the diced eggplant and chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and fry until the eggplants are soft and golden brown and the tomatoes blister. It will take about 10 minutes. Add the sautéed veggies to the lentils, mix in coconut milk and adjust the salt and pepper. Heat for a minute and garnish with cilantro and lime juice. Enjoy!



Serving: 200g | Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1393mg | Potassium: 932mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 6g