Vegan Potato and Lentil Curry

Vegan Potato Lentil Curry in a bowl
  • Total recipe cost | R 57.00
  • Servings | 4
  • Portion cost | R 14.25

Now, I’m not going to lie; this simply curry tastes even better on the second day. But, you can whip it up in a hurry when you’re desperate. That’s always a bonus. 

Vegan Potato and Lentil Curry

Vegan Potato Lentil Curry

It’s tough to get your hands on truly vegan curries in South Africa. It’s not impossible, mind you. But, when this recipe is super cheap and flexible, you can get your fix any time you like. Sure, the ingredient list seems long, but it’s just a trick of the eye.

Yields: 4 servings

  • 1½ cups basmati rice, uncooked | R 10.24
  • ½ cup lentils | R 3.41
  • 2 cups water | R 0.00
  • 2 tablespoons oil | R 0.81
  • 1 onion, diced | R 1.75
  • 2 cups potatoes, diced | R 4.50
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced | R 2.40
  • 1 chilli pepper, chopped | R 0.15
  • 1 can diced tomatoes | R 16.49
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste | R 2.15
  • 1 cup vegetable stock | R 0.95
  • ½ cup coconut milk | R 5.32
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder | R 1.04
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala | R 0.51
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger | R 0.35
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin | R 0.86
  • ½ teaspoon paprika | R 0.23
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric | R 0.31
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar | R 0.23
  • ½ teaspoon salt | R 0.03
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper | R 0.22
  • ½ lemon, juiced | R 0.94
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro) | R 4.13

Cook the rice | Cook the rice according to package instructions (or your favourite method). Set aside.

Pre-cook the lentils | Place the lentils and water in a small pot. Cover and cook over medium heat until lentils are just soft, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Cook the vegetables | Heat the oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes, until soft. Add the potatoes and cook until they begin to brown, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and chilli pepper and cook for an additional minute.

Add the juices and spices | Pour in the tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable stock, coconut milk, all the spices and the sugar. Add the partially cooked lentils when they're ready. Stir to combine and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes until the potatoes are fork-tender.

Season and serve | Season with salt, pepper and the lemon juice. Serve with rice and a sprinkling of coriander (cilantro).

  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour

Recipe tips

Watch that pot | Make sure you keep an eye on the pot while your curry simmers – it’s the worst when lentils burn at the bottom. 

If you don’t have any lemons | Or, you’re wondering why that’s there at all. A little lemon juice or vinegar at the end of cooking will bring the tomato flavour through a little more. 

If you’ve got most, but not all the spices | Don’t go buy more spices just for this recipe; play with what you have. It’s a curry, after all. And, when you find a better mix, save it – or, better still, post a comment below, so more people benefit!

Potato Lentil Curry vegan recipe

How to make this vegan curry recipe even cheaper

  • The simple switch from 1 can of chopped tomatoes to 4 fresh ones saves a heap. It reduces the total cost to R 48.51, for a portion cost of R 12.13.
  • If you also drop the fresh coriander (along with the tomatoes), you’ll spend just R 44.38 to serve 4. That’s a serving cost of only R 11.10. 
  • There’s a good chance your local fruit and veg – or your nearest Indian pooja shop – sells these spices much cheaper than you’ll pick up at Checkers.
  • Reduce your rice serving – or spread this curry out between 6 people.

There’s a good chance you can bring this budget vegan recipe’s cost under R40 if you’re really tight. 

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