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Lentil Stew with Ginger and Turmeric

4 Servings

40 minutes

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In “The Island Kitchen,” author Selina Periampillai includes a recipe for a lentil dish she sampled on the French island of Réunion, located in the Indian Ocean to the west of Madagascar. She describes the fragrant, creamy lentils, made with a local variety, as cooked in a cast-iron pot over a live fire. Inspired by her recipe, this lentil stew borrows her spicing but is chunkier in texture. We also add tomatoes to brighten both the flavor and color, and we garnish with yogurt for a touch of tangy richness. Serve with steamed rice.




Don’t use lentils du Puy (French green lentils), as they maintain their shape and a firm, separate texture when fully cooked. Brown or regular green lentils, on the other hand, break down slightly with simmering, giving the stew a thicker, creamier consistency.

40 minutes


  • 1

    cup brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained

  • 1

    teaspoon dried thyme


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Maria F.
March 5, 2023
Excellent recipe
Another take on Lentils with the warm and spicy flavors of ginger and turmeric, every bite is just delicious and so good for you! Is one of our recipes we like to use often.
Cynthia A.

Why core the tomatoes rather than just chopping them up and using all of them?

Lynn C.

Hi Cynthia -

Since we aren't specifying a type of tomato here and the tomatoes don't really get cooked, we prefer to core the tomatoes. Larger tomatoes, such as beefsteak or heirloom, can often have a hard, fibrous core that would be unpleasant in the dish. Hope that clears it up!

The Milk Street Team

Michael P.

I had a ton of water remaining... I eventually decided to strain out the majority of the water because the lentils were starting to really break down. Traditional ratio is somewhere around 1 cup lentils to 3 cups water. Here it is 1 cup lentils to 5.5 cups water? Are you sure this is correct?

Lynn C.

Hi Michael -

The ratio you are referring to (1 c.: 3 c.) is, I think, typically when cooking the lentils *covered.* Our technique calls for cooking the lentils uncovered so a fair amount of evaporation will occur, which accounts for some of the extra liquid. Additionally, this is meant to be a somewhat loose stew. As the lentils cook and break down a bit they will give the stew a thicker, creamier consistency. Hope that helps!

The Milk Street Team