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  • Writer's pictureTina Brand

Red lentils with gochujang: a warm spiced stew for sad days and wintry weather.

If the world has gone to pieces and it is cold outside, here's a comforting, warmly spiced red lentil stew. I wish I could send a large pot of this to my darling Izzy, and a gathered group of grieving friends in Melbourne. Eat well, take care of yourselves.


  • 1/2 large onion, diced

  • 1 cup red lentils

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 teaspoon caraway, cumin or fennel seeds

  • 1 generous tablespoon ginger, chopped fine

  • 1 large (800g) can of pulped tomatoes or sugo

  • 2 heaped teaspoons of gochujang paste

  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes

  • Juice of half a lemon

  • 5-7 cups of water

  • 1 large potato, cut up into a small dice (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a deep, heavy based saucepan.

  2. Throw in the seeds, onion and ginger and fry till fragrant and onion softens.

  3. Add the lentils and the turmeric powder and stir on medium heat until the lentils change colour and become opaque.

  4. Add the can of tomatoes and two cups of water and bring to a boil.

  5. If using potato cubes, add them to the pot at this point.

  6. Turn the heat to low, add the korean gochujang paste and lemon juice.

  7. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and throw in the chilli flakes at this point.

  8. Add more of the water as the thirsty lentils absorb the water and start to expand.

  9. Stir constantly to prevent the thick soup from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

  10. Cook on very low heat for 45-60 minutes until lentils have softened completely.

  11. Serve warm topped with a drizzle of olive oil, or a swirl of plain yoghurt.


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