Mushroom & Lentil Coconut Curry (Dairyfree, Glutenfree, Vegan)
Mushroom & Lentil Coconut Curry is sure to become a family favourite. Packed full of plant protein, baby button mushrooms and chunks of seasonal veggies, in a fragrant creamy coconut sauce. It is so simple to make and because its better the day after, perfect to reheat in the week.
Best of all you’d never know there is lentils in it because they just disappear, leaving behind a naturally thickened curry. Made from a few simple, cheap ingredients it’s the ultimate freefrom on a budget dinner.
I love having time to make a curry. And this beautiful Mushroom & Lentil Coconut Curry is always polished off by The Peachicks! It is equally lovely with chicken or grilled garlic prawns for a non veggie option. I serve it with rice, flatbreads & onion salad for a curry night to rival any takeaway!
While I have nothing against using a ready made curry paste or even a sauce, there is nothing like making your own from scratch. One advantage is that you can control the ingredients, like oil and salt, that you put in as well as adding just the right level of chilli heat* for you.
And it is very hard to find a paste that doesn’t have coriander in and isn’t may contain for peanuts. Also too much salt and you will end up with lentil bullets in your curry!
Now here I have to admit that I don’t grind all of my own spices, instead raiding the World Foods aisle in our local Asda for garlic, ginger, tumeric and garam masala powders. These are then made into a beautiful dark paste by grinding in a pestle & mortar along with fresh garlic, oil and root ginger.
* I haven’t added any dried chilli flakes or powder to this recipe so it is very mild. You can either add fresh or dried chilli to the paste at the beginning or (like Daddy Peacock) grind some dried chilli over the top as it is served.
Top Tips for making Mushroom Lentil Curry
For me there are two basic things to remember when making a good curry.
The first is cooking it low and slow. I leave these to simmer for at least an hour, preferably two until it fills the house with a delicious aroma. I cook it in my large cast iron pot on the stove, although obviously you could opt for a slow cooker. The actual cooking time for this curry is as long as the time you have. Once simmered and all the veggies are soft, I like to leave in the fridge for the rest of the day before reheating that evening while the rice cooks. But you can make it in as little as 30minutes if you are pushed for time.
And the second is to cook the spice paste out before you add the ingredients. You get a much deeper, better flavour; especially important if you are making this in the slow cooker or don’t have the time to leave it to simmer.
Why use Lentils in this curry?
The star secret ingredient in this curry has to be the lentils. They add a beautiful colour to the curry and cook down into the sauce making it thick and creamy! I use red split lentils because they are a great plant based source of protein, cheap and quick to cook. But Lentils are a considered an incomplete protein, so to get a full compliment of amino acids serve with a portion of brown rice. Red Split Lentils also good sources of fibre, Vitamin B and iron. And they are Peachick safe!
I have to admit to being a recent convert to using lentils in cooking. I’ve only ever knowingly eaten green ones before and I really do not like the texture of them. But a recent conversation with a mummy friend pointed me in the direction of red split lentils and convinced me to try them. I’m so pleased I did. They have a lovely delicate flavour, cooking down to the most beautiful texture and giving a thick, creamy consistency to this curry sauce.
Recipe for Mushroom & Lentil Coconut Curry
Before I get onto the recipe, a quick word about the creamed coconut. Its basically coconut, dehydrated into a solid block. It can be grated into sauces or dissolved into warm water to make coconut milk or cream. If you cant find it use a can of coconut milk instead and reduce the amount of water you add.
Mushroom & Lentil Coconut Curry (Dairyfree, Glutenfree & Vegan)
For the Spice Paste
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
For the Curry
- 4 Onion finely sliced
- 1 Spanish Black Radish (*1) diced
- 1 medium potato diced
- 100 g Baby Button Mushrooms whole
- 100 g Red Split Lentils
- 100 g Solid Creamed Coconut (*2) cut into chunks
- 750 ml Water
- 100 g Swiss Chard or Spinach
- In a food processor or pestle & mortar, grind the spices, black pepper, garlic and Oil together. Pour into a preheated pan and allow to cook over a medium heat for a couple of minutes.
- Then add the onions to the pan and stir through the spice paste. Allow to soften slightly then throw in the black radish, potatoes, baby button mushrooms. Stir until covered in the spice paste.
- Add the creamed coconut chunks, water and then the lentils. Turn up the heat to bring the curry to the boil, stirring until the coconut has melted into the sauce.
- Once boiling, turn the heat to low, cover with the lid and simmer for at least 30minutes (1hour is better), stirring occasionally to make sure the lentils aren't sticking to the bottom.
- Add the chard or spinach and simmer uncovered for a further 10-15minutes or until the sauce thickens.
- Either serve at this point with brown basmati rice or leave in the fridge for the rest of the day and reheat later on.
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