Nothing conjures up the sunshine and good times like a spicy curry with fruit.
In this curried lentil soup, tangy green mango is cooked with onions, fresh ginger, turmeric, red chili, cumin seed, and other spices.Jump to Recipe
Fruity flavors dance in your mouth, while the sour taste of the mango causes you to salivate with every bite, supporting good digestion.
This flavorful soup or stew is gluten-free, coconut-free, dairy-free (with the exception of ghee), vegan, soy-free, and a great source of fiber and easily digestible vegetarian protein.
Serve curried lentils with basmati rice, a fresh green salad, and some cooked spinach or kale on the side, and you’ve got a delightful lunch or supper worthy of the season.
Have some juicy fruit with your side salad, like apricots, strawberries, or cucumbers to add a cooling, refreshing element to the meal.
A little yogurt would be nice on the side as well if you find the lentils too spicy.
This way you get to fully experience the fragrant spices, but you can control the intensity.
Hopefully I’ve inspired you to want to learn more, so how do you make curried lentils with green mango?
First, you’ll need to acquire a few ingredients.
Ingredients for curried lentils
In the Ayurvedic system of cooking that I practice, we talk about the importance of 6 tastes. If you can include all 6 tastes in a dish, you will feel that it is complete and very satisfying.
Since the lentils are primarily sweet and astringent, and the green mango is primarily sour and astringent, notice how the spices add the missing flavors of pungent and bitter, and then of course the salt completes the flavor profile.
Toor dal, also known as pigeon peas, is a skinless legume (dried lentil, bean or pea) that is as staple in South India, which is my husband’s culture.
Toor dal looks very similar to yellow split peas, but if you are family with the texture and muddy taste of split peas, these are very different.
Toor dal has a lovely texture and taste when cooked. It breaks down, but it isn’t sticky at all. In fact, toor dal might just be your new favorite. Trust me on this one.
I recommend that you soak the toor dal for at least 4 hours to increase digestibility, but it is not fully necessary, since they cook relatively quickly, especially when using the Instant Pot.
You can find toor dal at an Indian grocery store, or purchase it online.
A green mango is simply an unripe mango. Naturally, it tastes more sour and astringent rather than sweet. This makes green mangos a wonderful source of the sour taste as part of a savory meal.
Warming, anti-inflammatory, and stimulating, fresh ginger is a great way to add flavor and support digestion.
Black mustard seeds
Black mustard seeds are a common bitter and pungent spice in Indian cooking,
They are known for supporting digestion and reducing gas and bloating, but they are a little tricky to work with, as it takes a good amount of heat to pop them, which is recommended.
Another bitter and pungent spice, cumin seeds have a wonderful earthy taste that helps with digestion. They are also antimicrobial, detoxifying, and antispasmodic.
Strongly anti-inflammatory, turmeric supports circulation and decongests and thins the blood. Cook with turmeric regularly to get the maximum benefits.
Indian red chili is pungent and warming. You may already know that too much red chili can be quite heating and aggravating, depending on your constitution.
What you might not know, is that using a little is supportive, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and pain killing. It also enhances flavor.
I have learned that a pinch of red chili does wonders for many dishes. Try it in this curried lentil dish and see what you think.
If you don’t have Indian red chili, substitute with a bit of cayenne pepper or red chili flakes.
Curry leaves do not taste like curry at all. They are aromatic and a little lemony, with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Since they are so aromatic, they are typically sold fresh. My habit is to buy them fresh at the Indian grocery store and then store them in the freezer to use as needed. This works well.
How to make
Curried lentils with green mango is very easy to make in the Instant Pot or saucepan.
In the Instant Pot you need just 10 minutes under pressure to cook this, while it will take 45-60 minutes simmering in a saucepan until the lentils get soft and fully break down.
Finely chopped green mango cooks together with the toor dal, along with the onions, ginger, turmeric and red chili.
After the toor dal is cooked, you make a spice tempering (sauté) starting with ghee, then black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, more red chili, and optional curry leaves.
Preparing spices this way is a traditional technique that takes just a couple minutes. You’ll need a small skillet or pot for your spices.
When you sauté spices in fat it releases flavor and enhances their medicinal qualities. In the case of the seeds, it also makes them crisp, which adds a unique texture.
How to serve
Serve curried lentils with basmati rice, along with a side of banana chips or a lentil wafer, and a mango pickle if you have it for a tasty lunch or supper.
For complete nutrition and a truly satisfying meal, I would also encourage you add a simple green salad and/or cooked greens, such as spinach or kale.
Storage and reheating
Curried lentils will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, but I always recommend eating leftovers within 2 days.
When reheating, add a touch of salt or red chili to reawaken the flavors. You can also add extra cilantro.
Recipe for Curried Lentils With Green Mango (Instant Pot)
cook in Instant Pot or saucepan
for the spice tempering
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced (optional)
Prepare the vegetables
- Use a vegetables peeler to peel the green mango. Either use a knife to remove the mango from the seed and chop finely, or grate the mango directly on a hand grater.
- Chop the onion and ginger.
Cook the lentils
- Add soaked and rinsed toor dal, water, mango, onions, ginger, turmeric and red chili with a pinch of salt to an Instant Pot or saucepan. For the Instant Pot, put on the lid and select “PRESSURE COOK.” Set the timer for 10 minutes. After the cooking ends, wait 15 minutes then open the lid (check for residual steam first).For the saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for 45-60 minutes, until the dal is breaking down and everything is very soft.
Make the spice tempering
- Place a tiny skillet or pot on medium heat. Add ghee, along with black mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once the mustard seeds begin to pop, and the cumin seeds brown, add the red chili and curry leaves, stirring constantly for 10-20 seconds more. Turn off the heat and stir into the cooked lentils right away.
Finish the curried lentils
- Add the ¾ teaspoon salt and simmer a few more minutes to marry the flavors. Stir in the fresh cilantro. Taste and adjust the flavors. Does it need more salt, more red chili, more cilantro?
- Serve curried lentils with basmati rice, along with banana chips or a lentil wafer, and a mango pickle if you have it for a tasty lunch or supper.