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Comforting and delicious, this spicy Indian Lentil Curry with pork tenderloin is so unbelievably good it’ll quickly become a family favorite! Layered with a blend of spices like garam masala, cumin, and chili powder, lentils are cooked to perfection together with tender pork to make this healthy dish. It’s a quick and easy Indian-inspired recipe that comes together in less than an hour!
Indian Lentil Curry With Pork
In this amazing recipe, we are taking some red lentils and pork tenderloin and turning them into an incredibly delicious spicy Indian lentil curry! It’s a super tasty dish bursting with flavor thanks to a combination of a few traditional Indian spices like garam masala and cumin along with the addition of some chili powder and jalapeno! So this is not a classic Indian dish like Tandoori Chicken or Lamb Korma. It’s my take on a lentil curry without any turmeric or ginger that is sure to impress your palate and fill your belly!
Not to mention, this Indian lentil curry is as healthy and easy to make, as it is tasty! Lentils are a versatile, filling, and nutritious ingredient that provide protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. And pork tenderloin adds even more lean protein to the dish on top of that! This is a healthy gluten-free meal you will feel good about feeding your loved ones.
Plus, you can whip this recipe together with very little prep in less than an hour! Just get some rice steaming as the lentils are cooking and this is one easy peasy dinner! And if you really want to make your family happy, finish the meal off with a yummy Mango Lassi!
Why You’ll Love This Indian Lentil Curry Recipe
- Quick and Easy! You can find everything you need to make this recipe at your local market. It’s the perfect introduction to cooking Indian-inspired dishes because with just a few simple ingredients you can create a mouthwatering curry in under an hour!
- Spicy Lentil Curry! Red lentils are infused with garam masala, ground cumin, and jalapeno as they get creamy, simmering away together with chunks of tender pork. This hearty curry is healthy, comforting, and unbelievably delicious.
- Make Ahead Meal! Similar to soups and stews, curries are sometimes even better the next day which makes them an excellent make-ahead meal. You can whip this recipe together days ahead for your family or use it for meal prep.
- Pork – You’ll need a pork tenderloin that is cut up into pieces. I don’t recommend using other cuts of pork because they need to cook for a longer amount of time.
- Olive Oil – I used olive oil, but vegetable oil is another option. You can even use coconut oil. Just keep in mind that it will add some coconut flavor to the dish.
- Onion – I like to use brown onions in curry. Yet, any type of onion you have on hand will do the trick.
- Garlic – Fresh minced garlic cloves are the best choice. Store-bought already minced garlic is not as strong in flavor and can sometimes have an odd taste due to preservatives.
- Carrots – Add a bit of sweetness and texture to the dish.
- Jalapeno – Makes the dish spicy! I suggest removing the seeds unless you enjoy really hot food. But if you don’t like spice at all, you can just omit this ingredient.
- Garam Masala – It’s a mix of Indian spices that can be found in almost any market or you can make some homemade garam masala.
- Ground Cumin – An earthy warm spice that is quite popular in Indian cuisine.
- Black Pepper – Simple ground black pepper is a staple in Indian cooking.
- Salt – Used to season the pork and boost the flavor of the curry.
- Chili Powder – Adds just a bit more flavor and spice to the dish.
- Red Lentils – These are a type of quick-cooking lentils that are made from yellow lentils that have been hulled and split. When cooked red lentils become very creamy and almost like a puree.
- Vegetable Broth – I always use low-sodium broth to control the level of added salt. You can also use water, but you may need to season your curry more at the end.
- Parsley – Fresh parsley is used to garnish the dish. Freshly chopped cilantro is another popular herb used in Indian cooking.
This curry recipe requires very little effort and no special cooking skills! If you follow my easy instructions you’ll have dinner on the table in no time.
This is a one-pot recipe, but you don’t want to just toss everything into the pot! It’s important to first get a good sear on the pork to add some flavor. To begin, season the chunks of pork with salt, black pepper, and chili powder. Next, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Now, add the pork to the hot oil in a single layer and sear it until it’s evenly browned on all sides. But you mustn’t crowd the pot, so you may need to cook the pork in batches. Then transfer the pork to a plate and set it aside for a later step.
After you’ve browned the pork and removed it from the Dutch oven, add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot. Then stir the garam masala and ground cumin into the oil. Next, add the onion, garlic, carrots, and jalapeno and cook them together with the spices for about 2 to 3 minutes until browned.
Now, let’s get the curry really going! Add the lentils and vegetable broth to the pot and stir them together well with the veggies and spices. Next, put the pork back into the pot and stir once more. Then cover the pot with a lid and turn the heat down to a simmer. Now, let the mixture cook for about 30 minutes, stirring it occasionally. When the curry is ready the lentils should be tender. However, you may need to add a bit more broth or water to reach your desired consistency.
Once the Indian lentil curry is done, taste it one more time and add more salt if needed. Now, garnish it with some chopped fresh parsley. Then serve it with steamed basmati rice and some homemade naan or roti if you like!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Dal and Curry?
While these dishes seem similar in some ways they are not the same. Dal is just boiled lentils or pulses with Indian spices and sometimes a few other veggies like tomatoes for a bit more texture and flavor. It’s more like a lentil soup than a curry. Whereas curry tends to have lots of spices, be thicker in texture, and often contains some type of meat.
Can I use other types of meat?
Yes! However, keep in mind the cooking time. Chicken breast and thigh meat are good choices. However, tougher cuts like stew meat are not going to be ready in under an hour. You can even omit the meat and make this dish completely vegan.
Can I use other types of lentils?
Red lentils are used in this recipe because they cook quickly and break down to create a creamy texture. However, you can substitute them with green or brown lentils, just keep in mind that they might take a bit longer to cook and hold their shape more.
- Pat the pork dry. For the best sear, use paper towels to pat the pork dry before seasoning it with the spices. Removing the excess moisture helps the meat to brown more evenly which also adds more flavor to the curry.
- Add more liquid as needed. If the curry begins to thicken up too fast as the lentils are cooking just add a little more broth or liquid. This will ensure that the lentils cook properly and also don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Season at the end. You should almost always wait until right before serving to add additional salt to any dish. But this is especially true of curries because the liquid reduces while cooking, which means all the flavors become more concentrated.
Leftover Indian lentil curry will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Just pop it in the microwave for about 4 minutes on medium power to heat it back up. You can also reheat the curry in a saucepan on the stovetop.
You can also store the curry in the freezer for up to 3 months in an airtight container or sealed freezer bag. Then when you’re ready, just let it thaw out overnight in the fridge before reheating it the next day.
Other Delicious Curry Recipes To Try
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 pound pork tenderloin (cut in small 1 inch pieces)
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 6 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 medium carrot (chopped)
- 1 medium jalapeno pepper (chopped)
- 1½ cup red lentils
- 2½ cups vegetable broth (low sodium or no sodium added)
- parsley (for garnish)
- In a dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season pork pieces, with salt, pepper and chili powder. Add seasoned pork to the pot and sear the meat until it's brown. Remove meat from dutch oven and set aside.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to dutch oven and heat. Add garam masala and cumin and stir. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and jalapeno pepper, stir well and cook until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the lentils, meat and vegetable broth to dutch oven and stir. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Cover and cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Garnish with parsley and serve over rice or plain.
- Adjust the Heat: The level of spiciness in this curry can be easily adjusted to suit your personal preference. If you prefer a milder curry, you can remove the seeds from the jalapeno pepper or even omit it entirely. Conversely, if you enjoy a hotter curry, feel free to add more chili powder or use a hotter variety of pepper.
- Use Fresh Spices: The flavor of spices can diminish over time, so for the best flavor, make sure you’re using fresh spices. This is especially important for spices like garam masala which is a central flavor in this dish.
- Don’t Rush the Searing: Searing the pork properly is important for building a rich, deep flavor in the curry. Don’t rush this step, and make sure the pork is browned well before removing it from the dutch oven.
- Prep Ahead: You can cut your vegetables and meat in advance to save time. They can be stored in the refrigerator in airtight containers.
- Try it With Yogurt: For a creamy twist and to balance the heat, serve the curry with a spoonful of plain yogurt on top. It’s a match made in heaven!
- Cook it Slowly: Don’t rush the cooking process. Allow the lentils to simmer gently so they can fully absorb the flavors of the spices. This will also help them break down and give your curry a wonderfully creamy texture.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.