Lucie Stoker
By Lucie Stoker

Thai red lentil curry recipe

Red thai at night = family delights!

The other night I had a situation where there was very little by way of fresh food in the house (a few onions, carrots and some wilted coriander was the extent of it) but I’d invited friends over. Is this a regular occurrence in your house too? So, I thought, it's time for my special thai red curry recipe.

The best thing I can suggest is to take a look in your pantry (I use this term loosely; my mum is the only person I know with an actual pantry), how well stocked are you? Here are my kitchen cupboard essentials if you fancy a bit of inspiration.

I was dealing with a sick puppy and an unwell friend too, so there wasn’t a huge amount of time to be spent in the kitchen.

Luckily, I had in mind a recipe given to me by my good friend Megan. She always whips up a wonderful feast and had passed on an idea for a thai red lentil soup.

So, taking her suggestions and playing around with a couple of extra spices I had in my kitchen cupboards, I whipped up a thai red lentil curry.

Red lentil curry is super easy to make, and so very tasty, something that everyone has insisted I make again and again!

thai red curry recipe

Thai Red Lentil Curry ingredients
Serves 4

1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp oil
1 medium white onion – chopped
1 garlic clove – finely chopped
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp harissa paste
(optional – if you like extra heat).
200g red lentils
200g carrots – diced
Fresh lime juice
(optional – it lifts the dish but isn’t essential).
400ml tin coconut milk
600ml water
Handful of fresh coriander – roughly chopped to scatter on the curry
(this is optional too).

Obviously you can add in your own veg, like mangetout, mushrooms etc.

The method for this couldn’t be easier... Just follow my guide below.

How to make a Red Thai Curry...

1. Heat the oil and the mustard seeds, when they start popping then add in your chopped onions.

2. Fry them for a while with a pinch of salt to stop them browning too soon. Add in the garlic and fry for another minute before adding in all the rest of the spices, pastes and purees etc.

3. Fry off the spices for a minute or so, keep them moving round the pan so you don’t have burnt mess stuck to the pan. Pop in the lentils and carrots and coat them in the spice mix. Now cover with the coconut milk and water, give it a good stir and leave to bubble for 25 - 30 minutes. Longer if needed.

4. The dish is cooked when it thickens up and the lentils are cooked through, you will need to stir it towards the end to make sure there’s an even heat. 

5. Just before serving, stir through a squeeze of lime, seasoning and of course a handful of fresh coriander. Serve with some Naans or Chapattis for a really delicious supper.

If you aren't a bread and curry sort of person, this is equally lovely with rice. Follow my guide for perfect fluffy basmati rice below.


Wok or Frying pan, ideally with a lid or a lid you can use. This technique requires the rice to stay as flat as possible, keeping the grains separate.


Basmati rice
Water or Stock

1. Always, always basmati rice. And always measure rice by volume and not by weight: use a measuring jug and measure 2½ fl oz (65 ml) per person 5 fl oz/150 ml for two, 10 fl oz/275 ml for four and so on. This basically equates to an american cup measurement for four people.

2. The water stock you use should be double the abount of rice. So for 2½ fl oz (65 ml) of rice it should be 5 fl oz/150 ml of water or stock.

3. Add about 1 tbsp of oil into the pan and simmer, add rice straight away and turn the grains over in the pan until they are nicely coated and glistening with oil. This keeps the grains separate.

4. Whilst doing number 3, boil your kettle. When boiled add the boiling water into your measuring jug then straight into your pan. Then add salt, about 1 level teaspoon to every 5 fl oz (150 ml) of rice.

5. Stir up the rice once only then place a lid over the pan, you don't want to break the delicate grains by over stirring so leave it to steam off. If you stir too much it releases the starch and results in sticky rice, spoiling your lovely fluffy rice.

6. Once the lid is on, simmer for 15 minutes with the heat turned right down. Then leave it alone – set the timer and go away! Honestly! The rice will now do it's magic. 

7. Finally, when the rice is cooked, remove the lid, turn the heat off and place a clean tea cloth over the pan for 5-10 minutes. (This is optional you can just serve up) But this process absorbs the steam and helps keep the grains dry and separate. Then before serving, use the tip of a skewer or a fork to lightly fluff up the grains.

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