2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon each: cumin seeds and coriander seeds

OR 1 teaspoon ground coriander and

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 – 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped

1 tablespoon turmeric

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup dried brown or red lentils

1-2 teaspoons cayenne (or ber bere!)  powder

1 – 15-ounce can coconut milk or make from coconut milk powder and water

Chopped fresh tomatoes

1 cup chopped cilantro




Heat the oil in a large pot or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin and coriander seeds and toast until they start to brown, about 45 seconds. Add the garlic to the pot and let it brown, about 2 minutes.

Add the can of crushed tomatoes, ginger, turmeric, and salt to the pot and cook, stirring the pot a few times, for 5 minutes. Add the lentils and, if using, the cayenne powder, and 3 cups of water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. Stir the pot a few times to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom. If the curry starts to look dry, add an extra 1/2 – 1 cup of water.

Once the lentils are soft, add the coconut milk and tomatoes and bring the pot back to a simmer. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cilantro.