Spicy Lentil and Vegetable Dish

"------So easy, so healthy, so cheap! This is not a curry. It's a spicy, nutritious one-pot dish. Can -- actually should -- be made the day before, as flavours definitely improve on standing: this was clear when I tucked into the leftovers. It's not a glamorous dish: it's rustic and robust. It's quicker still to throw together if you first mix the spices together in a bowl, and also prepare the vegetables, before you start. Do not use substitutions (except those suggested) and do use fresh spices! Old spices are useless.------"
photo by Karen Elizabeth photo by Karen Elizabeth
photo by Karen Elizabeth
photo by LUv 2 BaKE photo by LUv 2 BaKE
photo by LUv 2 BaKE photo by LUv 2 BaKE
Ready In:




  • Heat a generous amount of oil in a medium pot (the spices absorb oil).
  • Fry the chopped onion, stirring a few times, for 5 minutes or until softened. Use medium heat.
  • Add the curry powder and spices. It's easiest and more practical to measure them before starting and mix them in a small bowl. (Curry, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, ginger, fennel seeds).
  • Stir well, and fry spices with the onion for about 2 minutes.
  • Add the peeled, chopped tomato and the sugar. (The tomatoes must be peeled and the sugar is essential).
  • As coconut milk separates in the tin, empty into a bowl and whisk until smooth.
  • Add the coconut milk, soy sauce, lentils, carrots and water to the pot with the spices.
  • Stir everything well, and bring to boil over higher heat. When it starts boiling, put the lid on the pot, almost closed but not quite -- tilted a little.
  • Reduce heat to low enough so pot simmers slowly. Simmer until lentils are tender and have absorbed the liquid -- about 20 - 25 minutes.
  • Add the zucchini and peas, stir through, and simmer just a minute or two, until the two last vegetables are barely done and not mushy.
  • Mound in a dish and keep warm until serving, or heat gently the next day. The flavor improves if made ahead of time.
  • Sprinkle over parsley for colour just before serving.
  • Serve with blobs of thick Greek yoghurt and a large bowl of sliced bananas sprinkled with lime or lemon juice. (Or a side dish of your choice).
  • PLEASE NOTE: This is also a perfect, all-in-one side dish for meat-eaters. It is delicious with a bowl of oven-baked chicken pieces, flavored with seasoning salt and some Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce -- which is what I served with it last night. Then it only needed a green salad and some cold white wine!

Questions & Replies

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  1. Karen Elizabeth
    Made this much as directed, and had it as a main dish. Minor changes, was generous with the curry powder, (I used a roasted garam masala) and added the zucchini (my first home-grown zucchini!) a little earlier than directed. Otherwise, this was indeed cheap and easy, and I very much enjoyed the adddition of coconut milk. A versatile dish which most people would enjoy. Thank you Zuri, made in honour of your late husband.
    I made this once as written. After a search for a real good recipes to do. And with resulted in other similar recipes, I decided I wanted to create something unique a great base recipe and easy to modify depending on your tastes.. It may be a stretch to call my creation, but the result was a meal the whole family will liked. MY was Not better, not worse, just different! I've will added this to my recipe book "AS IS" and with my additions TOO. I have two way to do it!! THANK YOU!! I can do the happy food dance!! NOW !! 7 Stars
  3. Soobeeoz
    We didn't find this at all spicy but it was very tasty, and quick and easy to prepare. I used everything as listed, using low fat coconut milk - shaking the can eliminates the need to whisk it in a bowl. I also added some cracked black pepper, and in spite of the soy sauce needed to add the tiniest bit of salt to the finished meal. I didn't peel the tomatoes, and that worked out fine. I'd recommend adding the zucchini a few minutes earlier as it needed more than one or two minutes cooking time, and as a result the carrots slightly overcooked. I served it on basmati rice. Thank you for a great recipe I'll make again.
  4. Chef Dudo
    Heavenly smell when cooking. As said in the instructions, the sugar is indeed essential.The lentils were not dry at all, in fact the "saucyness" was just as it should be. The first batch was eaten the same day, very good. The next day some of the leftovers were eaten, even better. Froze the remaining and it freezes very well. Have served it with rice, couscous, potatoes, salad (not all at the same time of course.............) As another reviewer commented, the prep. time is a bit optimistic, took me a wee bit longer. The recipe is unusual and very, very tasty, therefore 5 stars. Thanks for posting and for participating in RSC#9.
  5. LUv 2 BaKE
    This is very yummy. I love the flavours of the spices with the sweetness of the coconut milk and peas. I love red lentils too which made this dish perfect. I did find the cinnamon slightly strong, the more I ate it but it was still very good as is. Reviewed for RSC #9.


  1. ca2nova
    This was delicious!! I followed the recipe with the following exceptions - halved the cinnamon, left out peas, added extra carrots and zucchini, used a jar of strained tomatoes instead of whole tomatoes, and added a couple shakes of cayenne for kick. Next time I will leave out the sugar. It added a hint of sweetness that I prefer to do without. It would be great with other veggies, perhaps cauliflower. This made a huge pot full - definitely more than 6 servings... but that's a good thing in our house! We served it over brown rice.


I'm a widow, retired, and I love cooking. I live on the coast in South Africa and I love seafood. You're welcome to my recipes (all kinds, definitely not just seafood!) Just remember that no recipe is ever cast in stone -- adjust to your taste! The photo was taken at a rustic seaside restaurant on our West Coast, approx 1 year ago (2016).
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