Seasoned with mild spices, this protein-rich dish is well balanced in terms of flavors and is very easy to make. Avoid overcooking the lentils; they should hold their shape.   Excerpt from The Essential Vegan Indian Cookbook by Priya Lakshminarayan, published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2021 by Callisto Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

Green Lentil Curry [Vegan]



Cooking Time




  • 1 1/3 cups dried green lentils
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 4 dried red chile peppers
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • teaspoon amchur powder
  • teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Roti or naan, for serving


  1. Rinse the green lentils under running water, then combine them in a medium pan with 2½ cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook over medium heat for about 25 minutes or until al dente, then drain them and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot, temper the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, red chiles, and asafetida.
  3. Stir in the onion, ginger paste, and garlic. Sauté until translucent.
  4. Add the tomato and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook until the tomato turns soft and pulpy. Add the chili powder, coriander, amchur powder, and lentils and mix everything together well.
  5. Cook for 3 minutes and then garnish with the cilantro. Serve with roti or naan.


You can make this dish with any lentil variety.