Hot & sour chicken and lentil curry

curry, spiced, spicy, spices, Burmese, Burma, Myanmar, chicken curry, chickencurry, lentil, lentils, rice, herb, herbs, tomato, fishsauce, fish sauce, cooking, cookery, recipe, homecook, philip, philip friend, Philipfriend, Surrey, bakingfanatic, kitchen, food, foodie, tasty,

This is my chicken and lentil version of my hot and sour fish curry and it remains a simple, quick and very addictive curry.

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This recipe is dedicated to my partner, Simon: a key worker who works nights at Tesco and, along with so many other key workers, is doing a tremendous job that I am so grateful for. I salute Simon and all other key workers.

It is a real pleasure to cook for Simon before he goes to work, and this is one of his favourite dishes that he asks for frequently. And who am I to say “no”, as I love this curry too!

The recipe for my earlier fish curry is here and I cannot recommend this sauce highy enough: salty, sweet, hot and a little sour it truly tickles those taste buds!

Convenience foods shine here!

This is very much a convenience food dish and it is none the poorer for it.

I used a tin of lentils here: great for convenience and they taste really good in this curry, absorbing some of the flavour of the spices. I have also made this using the ready-cooked lentils that come in pouches. If you are not a fan of lentils, you can use butter beans or chick peas which work marvellously. As does cauliflower: arguably one of the best vegetables to use in a curry such as this.

Chicken thighs are so often my chicken cut of choice: inexpensive and full of flavour, they are are, for me, a must-have in the kitchen when it comes to meat.

If you do not have fresh ginger, then powdered ginger or stem ginger from a jar will work very well indeed.

Serving ideas

This time, I served the curry with a refreshing red onion relish which is simply chopped red onion mixed with some chopped mint, salt, a little wine vinegar and some toasted cumin seeds.

The rice here was a packet of long-grain rice with wild rice: one of those packets that was buried at the back of a cupboard and was still well in date!

Recipe: hot & sour fish curry – serves 4

For the hot & sour curry
  • 6-8 chicken thighs, ideally off the bone and skinned
  • 1 tin of lentils (any type), drained
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3-4 large onions(about 500g) – any type – peeled
  • 4 fat cloves of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
  • 4″ piece fresh ginger, peeled (or 3 pieces stem ginger from a jar or 2 teaspoons powdered ginger)
  • 1 small mild red chilli, de-deeded
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 600ml water
  • a handful (about 50g) fresh coriander, leaves and stalks, optional

(1) Put the onions, garlic, red chilli and ginger into a food processor. Blitz for a few moments to give a thickish paste.

(2) Heat the oil in large pan over a medium heat and add the turmeric. Cook gently for 1 minute, stirring a little so it doesn’t burn.

(3) Add the onion mixture, the fish sauce and the sugar and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time to ensure it doesn’t catch.

(4) Add the water and bring to a simmer. Put the lid on and cook for about 20 minutes before removing the lid and cooking for a further 15-20 minutes to reduce slightly: this is where the flavour really develops and intensifies wonderfully.

(5) Add the chicken thighs to the curry sauce along with the lentils – you can chop the chicken into smaller pieces if you want to. Put the lid on and simmer very gently for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken has cooked. Gently stir through the chopped coriander and serve.



Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

2 thoughts on “Hot & sour chicken and lentil curry”

  1. Any person who is keeping the wheels turning at present is to be saluted, along with your partner, Simon. They are doing a sterling job!

    This recipe sounds pretty good as well, in view of the fact that lots of things are in short supply. I wish someone could magic up some yeast for me. I’ve got the flour now.
    Stay safe!


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