One of those recipes which is perfect for the Autumn and Winter seasons.  Grab yourself a bowl and curl up in front of the fire! It combines tamarind paste with the sweetness of dates and tomatoes.  You could steam your kale if you’d prefer to skip the oil but a small amount goes a long way in creating that lovely, caramelised, crispy edge which, let’s face it – tastes so much nicer!

Puy lentils are good at holding their shape during cooking and have a natural peppery taste which adds to the overall flavour.  I haven’t tried this recipe with red, green or brown lentils but you could, just expect a different texture as red lentils, especially, will lose their shape and become mushier when cooked so might come out more like a soup consistency!

If you can’t get hold of kale, add a different green leaf like spinach, Cavolo Nero or savoy cabbage – you can fry the Cavolo Nero and Cabbage in the same way you do with the kale, but leave the spinach as it is and add straight to the bowl when serving as the heat from the lentils will be enough to wilt it slightly while still retaining most of it’s nutrients.

puy lentils spiced with tamarind, turmeric and chilli with crispy kale

Tamarind, Turmeric & Chilli Spiced Lentils with Crispy Kale

The Balanced Kitchen
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2



  • 200 g dried puy lentils rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium brown onion skin removed, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot ends removed, peeled, diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic skin removed, chopped
  • 1 inch chilli flakes
  • 1 inch fresh root ginger peeled, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 20 g dates stones removed, softened in hot water for 15 mins if needed, chopped
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 400 mls tomato passata
  • 1 pinch sea salt & ground black pepper

Crispy Kale

  • 6 large leaves kale
  • 2 tsp coconut oil 1 tsp for frying onion and carrot, 1 tsp for rubbing into the kale


  • Begin by adding the puy lentils to a large pan with a lid, cover with approx 3x the amount of water and bring to the boil.  Turn down to a simmer and allow to cook for 30 minutes.
  • While the lentils are simmering,  add 1 tsp of the oil to a frying pan, heat then add the onion and carrot.  Cook on a low heat for 10 minutes, then add the garlic, chilli flakes, ginger, turmeric and tamarind paste, stir together before pouring in the passata and adding the chopped dates and tomatoes. 
  • Once the lentils have cooked for 30 minutes, drain them through a sieve, return them to the pan and pour in the passata and spice mixture.  Stir to combine then turn up the heat until it starts to bubble.  The turn down to the lowest heat, add the lid to the pan and allow to cook for a further 15-20 minutes.  Keep your eye on the pan and add a little water if needed during cooking time so the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan, give it a stir once during cooking time.
  • For the kale, clean the frying pan, then add the kale to the pan, turn the heat to a medium and gently cook the kale until it starts to crisp on the outer edges- this should take 3-5 minutes.
  • Serve the puy lentils with the side serving of crispy kale.
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