Chicken lentil curry is a curry which features both chicken and lentils as part of the recipe. The chicken in the dishes is usually shallow-fried for a while, before being added to a stock along with the lentils. Most recipes use red lentils alongside chicken, but it is also possible to use other types of lentils, such as yellow lentils and brown lentils, in their place. Chefs generally season the chicken lentil curry with curry powder, cumin, and turmeric. Other common ingredients include garlic, ginger, chili powder, and onion.
Various types of chicken lentil curry exist, and it could arguably be used to describe any curry which has chicken and lentils as ingredients. Most recipes for chicken lentil curry are fairy generic, however, featuring some curry powder — often korma curry powder — and cumin as flavorings. Curry paste can also be used in a chicken lentil curry, and any variety of curry paste is technically suitable. The majority of recipes suggest that chefs use korma curry paste, however.
The general process of making a chicken lentil curry is similar across most recipes. This usually involves shallow-frying the chicken; adding onions, ginger, and garlic along with any spices; and then adding the lentils. Lentils can be cooked in plain water, but most chefs opt to use a stock to add extra flavor. The entire mixture, including both the chicken and the lentils, is then cooked for around half an hour, or until the chicken is cooked.
Many different variations on the basic recipe for chicken lentil curry exist. Some dishes use other spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg, to add depth of flavor to the dish, and others include things such as mustard seeds. Depending on the guests’ tastes, some chefs decide to add more chili to the recipe. It is also possible to top the chicken lentil curry with toasted cashews as a garnish.
Different types of lentils can be used as part of a chicken lentil curry, but red lentils are the most common. Red lentils turn a golden color when cooked and become mushy quite easily during cooking, thereby adding some thickness to sauces they are used in. Brown lentils are another common type sometimes suggested for use in lentil curry, which have a mild flavor and go mushy when over-cooked. Green or puy lentils are generally considered more flavorful than other types of lentils and stay firm for longer.