tamarind with lentils and fried onions on white plate with fresh coriander.

Busy day tamarind curry with lentils

  • Author: Denise
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


Tamarind curry with lentils, onions, garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin, tomato paste, maple syrup and tamarind paste – a healthy busy day vegan dinner.



  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds (use 1 tsp. ground cumin as a substitute)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • ¼½ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups dried green or brown lentils rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or 4 cups water with 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 6 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. tamarind paste
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup or another liquid sweetener such as date paste or agave syrup


  1. Heat a medium pot and add 2 tsp. cumin seeds. Toast the seeds by stirring constantly for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onions start to get soft.
  3. Add the minced garlic and ginger, the garam masala and cayenne pepper (if using) and stir to combine everything for another minute.
  4. Add the rinsed lentils and vegetable broth. Bring the pot to a boil and then lower to simmer, cover and cook until the lentils are tender (20-25 minutes).
  5. While the lentils cook, make the tamarind sauce by combining 6 Tbsp. tomato paste, 2 Tbsp. tamarind paste and 2 Tbsp. maple syrup.
  6. Once the lentils are tender and the liquid is absorbed, add the sauce, stir to combine and cook for an additional 5 minutes.


  • Yes, you can use canned lentils. Just drain and rinse 3 cans of lentils (you want around 5 cups total). Add them along with ½ cup vegetable broth and cook for 5 minutes, then add the sauce and cook for another 5. Total time for this quick meal is about 20 minutes with prep.
  • Another quick meal idea is to follow this recipe and use 5 cups cooked chickpeas. Other beans, such as kidney beans will change the original flavor to a bit sweeter, but still make a satisfying, quick meal.
  • Category: Main Courses
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: tamarind curry