Lentil and Spinach Curry with Coconut Milk

by Ruwani

 This healthy, flavorsome Vegan lentil and spinach curry is made with coconut milk and will be ready in 20 minutes. 

 Vegan lentil and spinach curry

This lentil and spinach curry is a family favorite. My mum makes these very often for our rice and curry lunch, and now I make this for the boys. We enjoy this on meatless days with some papads and Indian pickles. Now with the cold weather, this is an excellent dinner option to serve with just a bowl of warm rice.
Red lentils are a staple in a Sri Lankan household and you will find tempered dhal for lunch every day. Unlike other lentils, red lentils cook faster. This dish is easy to make and can be prepared in 20 minutes.

lentil and spinach curry

Ingredients for this recipe 


Lentils – I have always used red lentils for this recipe, but you could use yellow lentils instead. 

Spinach – If you cannot find good spinach, use baby spinach / frozen spinach. 

Onion & other herbs  – I use red onions for this recipe but you could use yellow, brown, or white onions if you prefer. 

Adding fresh curry leaves and pandan leaves in Sri Lankan dishes is a must. It gives the curry an aromatic flavor. This dish also can be made without curry leaves and pandan leaves if you don’t have them on hand. 

Spices  – The recipe calls for the basic spices like turmeric, garlic, black mustard seeds, cinnamon, and dried red chili. 

Adding a touch of cinnamon gives the dish a wonderful flavor. If you don’t have a cinnamon stick, you can add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder. 

The whole red chili is added for tempering. If you add the chili whole it won’t be spicy. But if you want a little heat, you could cut the chili into 1/2 inch pieces and add to the tempering. 

Coconut milk -coconut milk or coconut cream can be used.

Oil-  use coconut oil, olive oil, or any other flavorless oil.

Vegan lentil recipe

How to make Spinach and lentil curry

Wash the spinach and leave aside. Now wash the lentils and add it to a medium-sized pan with the 1 ¾ cups of water, garlic, turmeric, and salt and cook on medium heat until the lentils are just cooked. It takes about 10 – 15 minutes. Meanwhile, keep the ingredients ready for tempering. 

Once the lentil is cooked take off the heat and put it into a heatproof bowl. 

Use the same pan to temper the ingredients. Keep the pan on medium-high heat. Now add the oil and black mustard seeds let the mustard seeds pop. 

Next, add the whole dried red chili, curry leaves, finely chopped onion, cinnamon stick, and fry until the onions turn pink and translucent. 

 Add the cooked lentils and the 1/2 cup of coconut milk into the pan with tempered onions. Stir well, add the pandan leaf and let it cook for 2 minutes. 

Lastly, add the spinach and stir and take off the heat. Spinach will keep cooking while it retains the green color. 

Serve warm with rice or some crusty bread. 

Lentil and spinach curry with coconut milk

Lentil and Spinach Curry with Coconut Milk

Recipe by Ruwani Ravin KumarCourse: Main, Lunch, DinnerCuisine: Sri Lankan
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes

Ingredients

  • 250g baby spinach

  • 1cup of red lentils washed well

  • 1 ¾ cup of water

  • ½ tsp turmeric

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 3-4 garlic cloves sliced

  • FOR TEMPERING**
  • ½ tbsp. coconut oil/ olive oil

  • ½ tsp mustard seeds

  • 4-5 curry leaves

  • 1 medium red onion finely chopped

  • 2-3 whole dried red chilies

  • 2-inch cinnamon stick

  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk/ 1/3 cup coconut cream

  • 3-inch pandan leaf ( optional)

Directions

  • Wash the spinach and leave aside. Now wash the lentils and add it to a medium-sized pan with the 1 ¾ cups of water, garlic, turmeric, and salt and cook on medium heat until the lentils are just cooked. It takes about 10 – 15 minutes. Meanwhile, keep the ingredients ready for tempering.
  • Once the lentil is cooked take off the heat and put it into a heatproof bowl.
  • Use the same pan to temper the ingredients. Keep the pan on medium-high heat. Now add the oil and black mustard seeds and let the mustard seeds pop.
  • Next, add the whole dried red chili, curry leaves, finely chopped onion, cinnamon stick and fry until the onions turn pink and translucent.
  • Add the cooked lentils and the 1/2 cup of coconut milk into the pan with tempered onions. Stir well, add the pandan leaf and let it cook for 2 minutes.
  • Lastly, add the spinach and stir and take off the heat. Spinach will keep cooking while it retains the green color.
  • Serve warm with rice or some crusty bread.

Notes

  • Serving suggestions – You could serve this with rice or crusty bread of your choice. For the non-vegans, I would suggest having this on the side of fish /chicken dishes. 
  • Other Variations – Adding kale or Pak Choy  instead of spinach.

Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment below or Mention @celebratingflavors on Instagram and hashtag it #celebratingflavors

Lentil and spinach curry

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