Red Lentil and Coconut Curry Soup

curry soup

Soups and curries are two of my favorite things and I knew I had to give this recipe a try. The flavors remind me a lot of Thai curries since the soup’s base is coconut milk. I used an Indian Garam Masala with Turmeric to give it a spicy, aromatic flavor. I toasted the spices with a few arbol chilies and ground them all together. The soup was really easy to make and all it really requires is a few hours for the ingredients to cook together. The result was a delicious and filling soup with nice coconut and curry flavors. The soup is surprisingly filling due to the rich broth and the high protein foods like chickpeas and lentils. I garnished a bowl with a drop of coconut milk, cilantro and sliced jalapeno. Plain yogurt would work great as a garnish as well. The soup goes well with rice, couscous, quinoa, or bread.

Red Lentil and Coconut Curry Soup
(Makes 8 Servings)
Printable Version


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Garam Masala (see below)
  • 1 tsp dried lemongrass, ground
  • 2 heaping tsp turmeric, ground
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cups red lentils
  • 30 oz. chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup ginger, minced
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, minced including seeds
  • 30 oz. (2 cans) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 9 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 12 oz. tomato paste
  • 1 lime, zest
  • coconut milk, for garnish (optional)
  • cilantro, chopped for garnish
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced for garnish
  • sliced limes, for garnish
  • yogurt, for garnish (optional)
  • leaves thai basil, for garnish (optional)


  1. In a large 10 qt. sauce pot, melt the butter and olive oil and add the onions, bell pepper, and jalapenos. Cook for 10 minutes until soft.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, and tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes until the garlic smells fragrant and the paste has caramelized slightly.
  3. Add the water, garam masala, ground turmeric, lemongrass, lime zest, coconut milk, salt, honey, lentils and chickpeas and cook uncovered on very low heat for 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Stir every 20 minutes to prevent burning.  Add more honey, spices, or salt to taste.
  4. Serve with lime, cilantro, coconut milk and jalapeno slices.

Garam Masala Recipe:


  • 3 arbol chilies, stems removed
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 2 tsp coriander seed
  • 2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp nutmeg seeds
  • 2 tsp cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp peppercorns


  1. Toast the arbol chili, cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon stick pieces, nutmeg, cardamom pods, and peppercorns in a pan until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and place in a grinder and blend.

9 Thoughts on “Red Lentil and Coconut Curry Soup

  1. I love this soup!!!

  2. Gorgeous soup with such lovely colors! I love the idea of turning the flavors of curry into a soup….I’ll have to give this a try soon.

  3. I love this combination! I should give it a, 3 hours of cooking!

  4. mschro on April 18, 2012 at 2:27 pm said:


    If you are short on time, you could cook it on medium heat for an hour. I have just gotten into the habit of cooking soups on the lowest heat setting for longer. For some reason I just think they taste better! Plus the house smells awesome for longer :)

  5. This sounds like a tasty soup!

  6. mschro on April 18, 2012 at 8:44 pm said:

    Thanks Kevin!

  7. This looks lovely! How much Garam Masala does this recipe make? I already have some and would like to save on cooking time. Thanks!

  8. mschro on April 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm said:


    I’m sorry, I didn’t exactly measure it out as the spices went directly from the grinder into the pot. I would estimate it makes about 1 1/2 tablespoons, but to be safe I would season to taste.

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