Lentil curry

Anjum Anands lentil curry is a classic North Indian dish with ginger, cumin, onion, tomatoes and coriander
By Anjum Anand
Lentil curry
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-5
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 20 g root ginger, peeled weight, half of it julienned
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 175 g split yellow lentils, known as Bengal gram
  • 75 g black lentils, known as black gram
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 small tomatoes, blended until smooth
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • handful coriander leaves, chopped
  • 10-20 g unsalted butter, optional

Tips and Suggestions

Once the lentils soften, the more you stir them the creamier they become.

Lentils and butter go really well together, so I do recommend you add a little butter at the end before serving.

This is great with rice or Indian breads.


1. Blend other half of ginger and the garlic with a little water until smooth. Tip both types of lentils into a large pot, cover with 7.5cm of water and bring to the boil. Skim any scum from the surface. Add the turmeric and a good pinch of salt.

2. Cook, partially covered, giving the pan an occasional stir, until the lentils have softened and are starting to look similar with the water. Stir occasionally at the start and more often as they become tender.

3. After about 40 minutes, start to make the tarka, but remember to keep giving the lentils a stir. Heat the oil in a small non-stick saucepan. Add the cumin seeds and, once they sizzle and darken, add the onion and cook until colouring at the edges. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook until the extra moisture has evaporated and the garlic is starting to colour. Add the tomatoes and remaining spices and cook down for 1015 minutes, until the masala releases oil.

4. Pour the tarka into the lentils with the julienned ginger, adding water from the kettle if it seems too thick. Make sure the whole thing looks like a lovely unctuous mass, if not, cook a little longer, adding water if necessary, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the coriander and butter, if using, and serve.

Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast by Anjum Anand, published by Quadrille, £19.99.

Photos ©Emma Lee

Want to see more? Take a look at all of our vegetarian recipes.

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