Red Lentil Coconut Curry with Cilantro Chutney

bowl of brown rice with red lentil coconut curry and drizzled with green cilantro chutney

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This curry is spectacular on its own over brown rice, but we also love pairing it with homemade naan!

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  • 2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 1 3-inch nub fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk, divided
  • 1/4 cup red curry paste*
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4-5 cups baby spinach leaves, packed (chopped if leaves are large)


  • 1⁄4 cup diced yellow onion (reserved from above)
  • 2 cups packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped golden raisins
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Make the brown rice according to directions.
  2. Make the curry: Peel and dice the onion. Reserve 1⁄4 cup for the chutney and set aside; use the remaining portion for the curry. Peel and mince the garlic. Peel and mince the ginger and measure out 2 tablespoons. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium- high heat, then add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute.
  3. Add the lentils, tomatoes, 1 cup coconut milk, 2 cups water, red curry paste, tomato paste, and kosher salt. Bring to a simmer and cook very gently, just barely bubbling, for 10 to 15 minutes until the lentils are soft (if not, cook a few minutes more until tender). Stir in the spinach along with 2 tablespoons coconut milk and cook until the leaves wilt. Taste and add additional kosher salt or coconut milk to taste.
  4. Make the chutney: Meanwhile, make the chutney using an immersion blender or standard blender to blend the reserved 1⁄4 cup diced onion, cilantro, golden raisins, white wine vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, and 1⁄4 cup water. Blend into a thick, smooth sauce.
  5. To serve, spoon the lentils over rice and top with a dollop of chutney.


*If your brand of red curry paste is very spicy, add it in gradually to taste. Our preferred brand adds flavor without excessive heat, but make sure to taste test before adding the entire amount.

Excerpted from A Couple Cooks | Pretty Simple Cooking: 100 Delicious Vegetarian Recipes to Make You Fall in Love with Real Food by Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser. Copyright © 2018. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.


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