Thai Red Curry Lentils

One of my favorite varieties of ethnic food is Thai.

Actually, I’m not really sure I can say that because when I go out for Thai, I usually only order one of three things: red curry, panang curry, or pad thai. So realistically, I don’t have a thorough understanding of what “Thai food” even is. But I really like all of those three dishes.

My husband and I have made homemade versions of all of the above on a number of occasions, and have tried out different recipe variations including both vegetarian/vegan ones as well as recipes with meat. They’ve all been pretty tasty, and red curry especially has become a staple for us, as have lentils.

My husband works for a non-profit that packs and sends meals to under-developed nations, and one of the ingredients they use in their mix is lentils. A few years ago they had a problem with one of the pallets of lentils where the pallet itself broke and punctured the bottom of the box. Due to manufacturing laws in the USA, his company wasn’t legally allowed to use any of the lentils for their food products due to contamination risks, even though the puncture itself was very small and localized. So, he and the other employees each took home 25 lb boxes of lentils that they scooped off the surface, far away from the puncture. We’ve been slowly chipping away at them ever since.

And I mean slowly.

I think we probably still have at least 23 pounds left. I can’t really complain though, because quarantine. And also because red curry.

So, we’re eating them, enjoying them, and most importantly, thanking God for them. If you want to do likewise, here’s the recipe:

Thai Red Curry Lentils


  • 1-1/2 cups lentils, rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter, or any kind of oil, really)
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 (2 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
  • 4 cups water or broth
  • 2-4 cups assorted raw vegetables (carrots, zucchini, potato, eggplant, red bell peppers, pea pods, etc.)

  • Steamed white rice
  • Cilantro


In a large pot, melt coconut oil. Add onion and vegetables, and saute for a few minutes, until sizzling and fragrant. Add all the spices (curry paste, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, sugar, garlic, ginger) and continue to stir fry for another 1-2 minutes. Add in water and lentils.

Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are soft. Stir in coconut milk and tomato paste, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Serve hot, over rice, garnished with cilantro.

*Note: 1 teaspoon of cayenne makes this dish about as spicy as: Flaming Hot Doritos/Cheetos/Takis, giardiniera, or @cholula Chipotle hot sauce

[We used red bell peppers because that’s what we had on hand, and skipped cilantro because #quarantine.]


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