Red lentils, aromatic spices and coconut milk are combined to create this creamy, comforting and flavoursome red lentil curry. Perfect for little ones, meaning the whole family can join in on curry night!
Five Reasons to Love This Red Lentil Curry
- Easy – Not too labour intensive and ready in around 30 mins. Great for mid-week dinners. Easy to prep (chop veggies etc) in advance for busy evenings.
- Flavoursome – Packed with flavour thanks to the garlic, ginger and spices. Perfect for introducing new and exciting flavours to babies and little ones.
- Allergy / Diet Friendly – Naturally vegan, dairy, gluten, nut and egg-free.
- Nourishing – Lentils are an excellent source of B vitamins, iron (a critical mineral for growing kids), magnesium, potassium and zinc. They’re also a great source of plant-based protein and fiber.
- Economical – Red lentils are an inexpensive way of getting a wide range of nutrients.
- RED SPLIT LENTILS – Red lentils break down easily and cook fast. They are very soft and have a somewhat sweet, nutty flavour – perfect for babies/kids. If you wish, you can substitute with brown or green lentils, the cooking time will be longer and you will need extra water for cooking.
- CURRY POWDER – Check the ingredient list of the curry powder, if making for a baby avoid those that have salt on the ingredient list. Mild curry powder is recommended for kids but if you like your meals with an extra kick, use a hot curry powder (or add a couple of chillies to the mix)
- COCONUT MILK – Use full-fat canned coconut milk to achieve that delicious creamy texture.
- GARLIC & GINGER – You can use fresh or, for convenience, the jarred minced garlic/ginger.
Process Shots and Cooking Tips
- Saute the Onion, Garlic, Ginger and Carrots for around 10 minutes. Don’t be tempted to skip/rush this step, it produces a sweet flavour base for the curry and complements the spices.
- Cook off the Spices to let the flavours develop.
- Add coconut milk, tomatoes and water. It will look like a lot of liquid but the lentils will absorb it and it will reduce.
- Simmer for 25 mins, uncovered. The lentils will soften, and the sauce should be thickened and creamy. If you find it too thick add 1/2 cup extra of water at a time.
- Serve this red lentil curry with rice or scoop up the creamy lentils with some naan or roti bread
- For a vegetable boost, serve with cauliflower rice, some steamed or roasted vegetables or stir through some frozen peas at the end of the cooking (great for cooling down meals for toddlers too!)
- REFRIGERATE: Allow to cool, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- FREEZE: Allow to cool, transfer to freezable container/s or bag/s and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw, overnight in the refrigerator, reheat on the stovetop (until piping hot) adding more water (or stock) to thin, if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, this curry is perfect for babies (over 6 months). It is important to introduce a variety of flavours early on and this lentil curry is mild, soft and easy to eat. You can blend or mash depending on the age and stage of the baby. Make sure to check the ingredient list of the curry powder used (look for one without added salt)
There is no need to soak or pre-cook before making the curry. However, the lentils should be rinsed to remove any dirt etc.
Yes. If using canned lentils, reduce the amount of water added and the cooking time. (Canned lentils can be salty so not recommended for babies). You can use brown and green lentils but you will need to increase the cooking time to around 40 mins (30 mins covered, 10 mins uncovered). You will also need to increase the water by another cup.
Yes, add your favourite vegetables. Sweet potato is lovely. Grate or dice to the same size as the carrots and add at the same time. You can also stir through some peas at the end.
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Red Lentil Curry
- 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
- 1 Onion finely chopped
- 1 Carrot finely chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic minced ( equivalent to 3 tsps)
- 2 tbsp Minced Ginger
- 1 Red Bell Pepper (Capsicum) finely chopped
- 1 – 2 tbsp Curry Powder see notes
- ½ tsp Smoked Paprika
- ½ tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Salt Do not add if making for baby and reduce for younger children.
- 180g /1 cup Red Split Lentils rinsed and drained
- 400ml / 14 oz can Coconut Milk
- 400g / 14 oz can Chopped Tomatoes
- 375ml 1½ cups Water
For Serving (optional)
- ½ Lemon juice of
- ¼ cup Coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
- Add coconut oil to a pan, over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot garlic and ginger and cook for around 10 mins, stirring occationally, until the onion is golden.
- Add the pepper (capsicum) and spices (curry powder, smoked paprika and turmeric) and cook for a further 30-60 seconds, stirring continuously to prevent burning.
- Add the lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes and water and simmer for around 25 mins, uncovered. (The lentils should be soft, and the sauce should be thickened and creamy. If you find it too thick add 1/2 cup extra of water at a time.)
- Add the lemon juice and chopped coriander, taste and then season to taste. (do not salt for baby)
- CURRY POWDER:
- Add 1-2 tbsp of mild curry powder to taste. For babies, young children and children not used to spice then I recommend 1 tbsp. For older children, used to spiced food add 2 tbsp. (I add 2tbsp and my boys are 6 & 9)
- Check the ingredient list of the curry powder, if making for a baby avoid those that have salt as an ingredient high up on the ingredient list.
- Although this is a recipe for red lentil curry, you can substitute with other lentil varieties.
- Green or brown lentils can be used but will need a longer cooking time and extra water. Add 750ml (3 cups) of water and simmer for 30 mins (covered) and a further 10 -15 mins uncovered.
- If using canned lentils (watch salt content if making for baby/toddler) you can skip the water and reduce the cooking time as the lentils are already cooked.