Easy Coconut Curry Sauce

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You’re going to absolutely love that you can find all the spices at Yum-Yum

You’re going to adore the beautiful coconut flavour that mingles with the spices.

You’ll go bonkers over how it tastes like a full flavoured coconut Indian curry – except you made it in 30 minutes from scratch.

The spices in the coconut curry sauce are:

What to put in Coconut Curry

This is where things get fun. You can literally put anything in this Easy Coconut Curry Sauce and it’s going to taste great. Here are some ideas:

  • Lentils, pumpkin, spinach and cashews (pictured). Terrific combination my friends go bonkers over;

  • Chicken, fish or prawns – sear before starting recipe, then add them back in later;

  • Sweet potato, normal potato, zucchini, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, squash;

  • Other legumes – chickpeas are sensational, and any other type of beans.

I’ve included a guide in the recipe notes for when to add different ingredients. For proteins, it’s well worth searing them before starting the recipe, then just add them back in later once the sauce is done.

This 30 minute recipe is all about the sauce. A mild coconut curry sauce with a beautiful depth of flavour that belies how quick and easy it is. Tastes like an Indian curry, but not quite as intense, nor spicy. It’s utterly addictive. I really love lentils and pumpkin with this creamy sauce, but feel free to use whatever you want, including proteins – see notes. 


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger , finely grated
  • 1/2 onion , finely chopped (brown or yellow)
  • can coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 cup/ 250 ml chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup / 125 ml tomato passata (tomato puree) 
  • 400 g/14 oz brown lentils
  • 250 g / 8 oz pumpkin (~3 cups) , cut into 2cm / 4/5″ cubes
  • 80 g / 2 cups (packed) baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup cashews , unsalted (roasted or raw) 
  • 1/2 tsp each salt + pepper


  • 2 tbsp curry powder (mild or spicy, your choice) (Note 4)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp paprika (sweet, or hot for spice!)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric


  • Coriander/cilantro leaves, whole or chopped
  • Chopped cashews (optional)


  • Heat oil in a deep skillet or pot over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger, cook for 2 minutes until onion is a bit tinged with gold.
  • Add Spices and stir for 1 minute – don’t worry if it looks a bit dried out.
  • Add coconut milk, passata and broth. Stir until incorporated.
  • Add lentils and pumpkin. Bring to simmer then adjust heat so it’s simmering energetically.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes or until pumpkin is tender but not mushy, and sauce has thickened.
  • Stir through baby spinach until wilted, then cashew nuts.
  • Add salt and pepper last, adjusting to taste.
  • Serve over rice, sprinkled with coriander and extra cashews, if using.

Recipe Notes:

1. Crushed canned tomato can also be used here but doesn’t yield the same smooth sauce. Use 3/4 cup.


2. Roughly chopped macadamia or pistachios would be a great sub. Otherwise, leave the cashews out and sprinkle generously with store bought fried shallots or onions (Asian section of supermarket), these are a great alternative for providing texture and added interest into the curry.


4. I use Cloves  (sold at Yum-Yum spice section), mild or spicy. Any curry powder will be fine here because it’s not intended to be a full blown authentic Indian curry.


5. The Formula: This recipe is all about the curry sauce, so feel free to use it for whatever you want to put in it. It makes about 3 1/2 cups of sauce which is enough for about 4 – 5 packed cups of “stuff”.


Examples: 500g/1 lb chicken cut into bite size pieces (~2 1/2 cups) + 2 1/2 cups of chopped veggies of choice. Or 500g / 1 lb prawns / shrimp + 2 cups chopped sweet potato. Or 5 cups of veggies, chopped into bite size pieces. Or 1 can of beans (~2 cups) plus 3 cups of chopped veggies. Etc etc. 🙂


Stir throughs like spinach which wilts down to nothing is a freebie that doesn’t count in the cups allowance, and similarly with a small amount of nuts.


Proteins (chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, fish and prawns/shrimp especially great) – brown first then remove (still raw inside ok), then proceed with recipe. Add it back in to finish cooking through / reheat. For beef and lamb, be sure to use a nice marbled cut and don’t overcook, keep it juicy inside. You could also stir through shredded or chopped precooked meat.


Vegetables, add them into the sauce based on the cook time. The sauce needs 10 minutes to reduce / flavours to develop.


Legumes (beans) – whether canned or cooked dried beans, add them in as soon as the sauce is mixed and simmer for the full time so they soak up some flavour.


Dried lentils – use 2/3 cup dried and simmer in 3 cups of lightly salted water for  20 minutes or until tender but still firm (not mushy). Drain and use per recipe.


6. Nutrition per serving, assuming 5 servings. It’s a pretty generous amount! Excludes rice. It could almost be a meal in itself.