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Slow Cooker Indian Lentils

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5 from 6 reviews

  • Author: Morgan
  • Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x


Units Scale
  • 3 cups red and/or yellow lentils
  • 4-6 serrano chiles, depending on heat preference, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3" piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons butter, optional
  • 14 ounces heavy cream or unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to serve
  • Basmati rice, to serve
  • Naan, to serve


  1. In a large bowl, soak the lentils for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse well, and then transfer the lentils to the bowl of the slow cooker.
  2. Combine the serrano chiles, chopped onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, and sugar in a food processor. Process until the mixture becomes a paste and is well-combined. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker. Stir in 6 cups of water and the diced tomatoes.
  3. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours, or until the lentils are soft. Season very generously with salt, stir well, and adjust remaining seasonings, to taste. Gently mash about half of the lentils with a mixing spoon.
  4. Stir in the butter, if desired, and the heavy cream or coconut milk, a bit at a time, until reaching the desired richness and consistency. Mix in the cilantro, saving some to top.
  5. Serve warm with freshly squeezed lemon, basmati rice, and naan.
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 4 hours