This is a hearty and comforting sweet potato and lentil Thai curry that's full of flavour and goodness! And it's so easy to make too.
A Thai curry has got to be one of the most satisfying dinners there is. It's warming and ever so slightly sweet, not overly spicy, just enough to make you feel comforted. And unlike a lot of comfort food, a Thai curry can be pretty nutritious too! This sweet potato and lentil Thai curry is full of flavour, full of goodness, and really easy to make.
Lentil Thai curry
Thai curry paste.
And that's about it.
Of course there are a few other ingredients to make it extra tasty - I couldn't resist adding some extra garlic and chilli - but those four ingredients form 99% of this lentil Thai curry.
But despite its simplicity, it's absolutely delicious. There's no point in making something complicated just for the sake of it, when 4 ingredients will produce such an enjoyable dinner.
Thai red curry paste
I always use a jar of curry paste when cooking a Thai curry. I have actually attempted to make my own Thai curry pastes before, but it never ends up as good, and then I think - why did I even bother?
With the shop-bought jars of curry paste, an expert has already done all the work, using all the necessary ingredients, balancing the flavours, and mixing them up into a perfect little paste. I don't think I could do any better than that.
Plus, it's far cheaper to buy a jar of shop-bought paste rather than buying each ingredient individually, and it's an awful lot easier too. So no shame here!
Just add a few biiiig dollops of curry paste to your sweet potato. Then, add the red lentils, and coconut milk.
Is Thai curry paste vegetarian?
The only thing you've got to remember when using a jar of shop-bought Thai curry paste is to make sure you choose one that's vegetarian. Some Thai curry pastes contain fish sauce.
However, there are also plenty of vegetarian versions out there, so just check the ingredients if you need a vegetarian Thai curry paste. I find that it's often the cheaper, own-brand curry pastes that are vegetarian (I guess fish sauce is one of the expensive ingredients that they skip to keep the cost down!).
Creamy lentil curry
When everything's had a chance to get all bubbly for 20 minutes or so, you'll be left with an insanely irresistible creamy, hearty, slightly spicy lentil curry.
The sweetness of the sweet potato goes just beautifully with the Thai red curry flavour, and the lentils bring it all together into a meal that's nourishing for body and mind!
Don't forget the toppings!
I'm all about the toppings - you're probably fed up of hearing me go on about them now. But it's true - a few good toppings can really transform a simple meal like this lentil Thai curry into something truly special.
In this case, toasted cashew nuts and fresh coriander (cilantro) were perfect additions. The cashews give an extra layer of flavour and texture, and the coriander really lifts everything to taste fresher and brighter.
What's the difference between lentil curry and dal?
As far as I know - nothing really. The word 'dal' is usually used to describe Indian-inspired lentil dishes, so I decided to call this Thai version a lentil curry instead.
I'd also tend to eat dal on its own (with plenty of naan bread or chapattis for scooping), whereas I served this lentil Thai curry with rice. You could totally serve it on its own if you want though. I won't mind.
Sweet potato and lentil Thai curry
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- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 mild red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
- 300 g (~ 2 cups) peeled and diced sweet potato (butternut squash works well too)
- 2 tablespoon vegetarian Thai red curry paste
- 265 g (~ 1 ⅓ cup) red lentils
- 400 ml (~ 1 ⅓ cups) tinned coconut milk (I used light)
- 400 ml (~ 1 ½ cups) vegetable stock
- Small handful cashew nuts
- Few sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro)
- Heat a dash of oil in a saucepan, and add the minced garlic and chopped chilli. Cook for a few minutes over a medium heat, until fragrant, then add the diced sweet potato and Thai curry paste. Cook for a few more minutes.
- Next add the red lentils, coconut milk and vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, and allow to cook for around 20 minutes, until the lentils and sweet potato are soft. You'll need to stir occasionally to stop the lentil curry from sticking.
- To make the toasted cashew nuts, just add some cashews to a dry frying pan, and cook for a few minutes over a medium heat, stirring regularly to prevent burning. Keep an eye on them, as once they start to turn golden, they can burn quickly.
- Serve the lentil Thai curry topped with the toasted cashews and fresh coriander (cilantro). I served mine with rice.
Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.