• Jenny

Red Curry Lentils

Updated: Nov 11, 2019

Red curry paste and coconut milk make these lentils spicy and creamy with great texture. They can be served as a hearty side dish or a vegetarian main dish.

I love lentils. They are available in most parts of Kampala and they are so versatile. A wide range of cuisines incorporate lentils so you never have to get bored of eating lentils as you can add a variety of spices, veggies, and meats. Red curry paste is available in major supermarkets in most regional cities, though there have been times when the country is out of curry paste. Those are sad times. The good news is that curry pastes keep for a long time in the fridge so you can always have some on hand.

We like to add a lot of veggies to a dish like this because they increase the nutritional value and you hardly notice them. As pictured, about a half bunch of chopped spinach has been added to the lentils, before they simmer for 20 minutes. You can also add cooked carrots, green beans cut into small pieces, or zucchini. Adding cooked chicken makes this dish even heartier if you’ve got a carnivore in your house. Red curry paste can vary in spiciness so don’t add cayenne until you’ve tasted the lentils, in case the curry paste you are using is on the spicy side.

Cost – benefit

Prep time: 50 min

Serves: 5-6


1 ½ cups lentils (300 g), rinsed and picked over

1 medium Kampala onion, diced

2 tablespoon (29g) butter

2 tablespoon red curry paste

1/2 tablespoon (7.5 mL) garam masala

1 teaspoon (5 mL) curry powder

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) turmeric

1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

Dash of cayenne pepper

15 oz. (425 g) of tomato puree, OR 1 cup (275 g) tomato paste + 1 cup (237 mL) water

1/4 cup (60 mL) coconut milk or cream

Fresh coriander for garnish


Place lentils and 3 cups of water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and

allow lentils to simmer 20-30 minutes, until tender. The amount of time will depend on what kind of lentils you are using. Add more water if needed, to ensure lentils are covered. Once cooked, drain lentils and set aside.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté a few minutes, until fragrant and golden. Add all spices and stir fry 1-2 minutes. Add tomato puree, stir and simmer until smooth. Add lentils and coconut milk and stir to combine. Let the lentils simmer at least 15-20 minutes until the flavors are well combined. Serve over rice or with pita bread and garnish with fresh coriander.

This recipe is contributed by Katie Spencer, who lives on the outskirts of Kampala where she and her husband work at African Bible University. She previously lived in Malawi and moved there when her firstborn was six weeks old. This recipe is adapted from Pinch of Yum.

© 2019 by Kampala Kitchen