Curried Red Lentils with Coconut Milk


  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds or ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 cup [180 g] split red lentils
  • One 13 1/2 oz [398 ml] can full-fat coconut milk, shaken
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the ginger, garlic, shallot, coriander, cumin, and turmeric and cook, stirring now and then, until the vegetables are softened and the spices are fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils, coconut milk, and salt, then fill the empty coconut-milk can with water and add that to the saucepan. It will look like a lot of liquid, but the lentils will absorb it as they cook.
  3. Stir everything together, turn the heat to high, and bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Turn the heat to low and let the lentils simmer, stirring now and then, until they’re completely soft, about 20 minutes.
  5. Season to taste with salt.

Serving suggestion: spoon the lentils hot over basmati rice. Top each serving with a spoonful of yogurt and a sprinkle of cilantro.

from Small Victories, by Julia Turshen, pg 136