Vegan Keema Madras with lentils
Vegan Keema Madras with lentils. Keema is usually a minced meat dish made with combination of spices to add a complex flavor. This Keema uses red lentils. Serve this with flatbread, rice or with dosa, appam. Vegan Gluten-free Soy-free Recipe Nut-free Option.
Servings Prep Time
4people 10minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
4people 10minutes
Cook Time
  • 1/3 cup (60 g) red lentils(masoor dal)
  • 3/4 cup (157.5 g) cubed potatoessmall cubes
  • 1/2 tsp pepper corns or freshly grounduse 1 tsp for the real deal
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamonor 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 – 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp raw rice(optional), or use rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 3 cloves of garlicfinely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) finely chopped onion
  • 2 medium tomatoes11 oz diced
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup (39 g) coarsely crushed walnuts
  • 1/3 cup (42.67 g) shredded carrotsoptional
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Cilantro, pepper flakes, lime juice for garnish
Lentils + Potatoes
  1. Lentils + Potatoes: Add red lentils, potatoes, and 2 cups water in a saucepan. Cook uncovered over medium heat until potatoes are tender. 13-14 mins. Add in a good pinch of salt mid way. Do not drain.
  1. Spices: Grind the the spices in a grinder or blender. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the spices and toast for 2-3 mins. If the pan is heating too quickly, roast at medium-low heat.
  2. Add garlic and cook for a few seconds. (You can also add 6 curry leaves at this point if you have some). Add onion and good pinch of salt and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, blend the tomatoes with coconut and a few tbsp of water until smooth.
  3. Add the blended tomato coconut mixture and cook over medium until it thickens and oil starts to leave the mixture. 5 to 7 mins. Add the carrots and walnuts and cook for 2 mins.
  4. Add the cooked lentils and potatoes with the cooking water(it should be about a half cup or so liquid after evaporation during cooking in step 1) Add salt and mix well to combine the spiced mixture and lentils. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 5 to 7 mins. Taste and adjust salt and flavor.
  5. Add a dash of lime juice, generous pepper flakes or cayenne, and cilantro and serve with rice, flatbread or dosas. Or add to wraps, tacos.
  1. Store: Refrigerate for upto 3 days.
Recipe Notes
  • Nut-free: Omit the walnuts.



    Use 1 cup of cooked lentils(brown or green), Or use 1.25 cups of cooked chickpeas, lightly mashed to make a coarse texture instead of red lentils. 


    Add other veggies instead of potatoes such as zucchini, fennel or celery.


    Canned tomatoes: Traditional Indian recipes usually use fresh tomatoes and are written for fresh tomatoes. Canned tomatoes have a stronger and sweeter flavor profile and usually overshadow some spices. Double the spices for canned.


    Heat: The heat in this dish comes mainly from black pepper and the garnish. To adjust, reduce the black pepper to preference and omit garnish.


    For additional heat, add 2-3 dried red chilies with the ground spices. 


    Nutrition is for 1 serve, does not include flatbread or rice.