Budget Lentil Curry

Today I will share with you how I make this delicious coconut lentil curry. This is the first recipe of a mini-series called Budget Meals in which I share four very delicious and tasty low-cost meal ideas.

I realize that low cost or budget-friendly is relative. What I might find expensive you might find affordable and vice versa. But for this series, I aimed to not spend more than 5 euro’s on a meal. I also tried to make meals that are easy to make in large amounts so that you can get the most out of your money.

Using dried lentils instead of pre-cooked jarred or canned lentils helped me to keep the costs low. Even though dried lentils take more time to prep compared to pre-cooked store-bought lentils, with the dried version you get much more buck for your money.

Compromising on ingredients?

I love coconut milk and especially in curries. It makes the dish creamier and its aroma gives the curry a phenomenal taste. For that reason, I do not like to cut back on it when cooking. But unfortunately, here in the Netherlands coconut milk can be quite expensive. While there are more affordable alternatives like heavy cream or just plain water I wanted to still incorporate it in this dish without spending a lot of money. To solve this I use the bit of coconut milk that fitted into the budget along with water to create a similar effect.

This is something you can do with other recipes as well. Is there an expensive ingredient on the ingredient list? You don’t need to get rid of it completely but you can partially replace it with a cheaper alternative.

What are your budget saving cooking tips?


Budget Lentil Curry Recipe


  • 350g Dried Lentils
  • 1 Diced onion
  • 200ml Coconut milk
  • 70g Tomato paste
  • 1 Can (140g) Chopped canned tomatoes
  • 4 Tablespoons Curry paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water


  1. Soak lentils according to instructions on the packaging and cook until lentils are done but still firm. Strain it and set aside.
  2. In a large wok pan heat vegetable oil over medium heat and cook diced onion until translucent.
  3. Add tomato paste and cook for 5-7 minutes while continuing to stir.
  4. Add curry paste and cook along for 2 - 4 minutes (or according to instructions).
  5. Add canned chopped tomatoes and salt to taste, cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Add coconut milk and if desired add 125ml water for a creamier curry.
  7. Add cooked lentils and cook over low to medium heat until lentils become tender.

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