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Curried Chicken and Lentils with Basmati Rice

Curried Chicken and Lentils with Basmati Rice is packed with flavor. The red chicken curry forms a flavorful broth that soaks into the rice beautifully.
Curried Chicken and Lentils with Basmati Rice

Curried Chicken and Lentils with Basmati Rice

Curried chicken and lentils served over basmati rice is comfort food to me. That may sound a bit strange coming from a Southern girl but,  it’s true. I was incredibly blessed to spend several years when I was growing-up in South Africa. The make-up of the countries population is very diverse, and each group brings their own specialties and flavors to the table. There’s a large Indian community that lives there and they became and remain, very special friends to my family.  We immediately fell in love with their version of comfort food. That’s right, curry. Curry in every form chicken, seafood, beef, mutton, vegetable, briyani, naan, roti and the list goes on and on.

Curried Chicken and Lentils with Basmati Rice

Homemade Chicken Curry

My Indian friends thought of chicken curry the way we might think of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, buttermilk biscuits and sweet ice tea. The term curry, actually refers to a spice blend of ten or more different spices, that have been ground and combined into a powder.  It’s available in many different heat levels, and generally speaking, the more red the color of blend, the spicier it can be.

Things to remember

  • Much like Italian food, curry becomes even more flavorful as it sits, making leftovers a dream.
  • This dish can also be made with boneless chicken and that will cut the cooking time in half. For the most flavorful broth, bone-in is the way to go.
  • You may substitute any cooked lentils in place of the lentil soup in this recipe. Think cooked lentils, not raw.
Curried Chicken and Lentils with Basmati Rice on a plate

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Curried Chicken and Lentils with Basmati Rice

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time1 hour 25 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Indian-inspired
Keyword: chicken-curry-recipes, curried-chicken-recipe, red-curry
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 395kcal
Author: Melissa Sperka


  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 heaping Tbsp hot Curry paste i.e. Patak's
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp chopped ginger root
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 medium Roma tomatoes diced
  • 3 large bone-in chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 20 oz can lentil soup drained [I used Progresso]
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled & cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Accompaniments: Basmati rice warm naan, chutney


  • In a heavy pot or dutch oven heat the oil. Add onions and fennel seed. Saute over medium-high heat until the onions are translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add curry paste, minced garlic, ginger root, turmeric, and cinnamon. Cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes to let the flavors combine.
  • Add chopped tomato and place the lid tightly on top. Continue to cook on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes begin to break down and form the sauce.
  • While the sauce is cooking, remove the skin from the chicken breasts, and cut each piece into chunks. I usually cut them crosswise into three large pieces, then cut each piece again, through the middle. If you don't have a knife sharp enough to do this, ask your butcher to help out with this step.
  • Add the chicken pieces and stir well, making sure the chicken is evenly coated with the sauce. Squeeze the lemon juice on the top. Turn the temperature to medium low and simmer covered for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes add drained lentil soup, cubed potatoes. Season this layer lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Replace the lid, and continue to cook on medium-low for another 30-35 minutes until the chicken is done and the potatoes are fork tender.
  • uncover and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve over Basmati rice.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 335mg | Potassium: 670mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 201IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!


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