Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and saute the onion, carrot, and celery until they start to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add in the garlic, ginger, and curry powder, and stir until fragrant, about one more minute.
Add in the broth and lentils, and give the pot a stir, then place the chicken thighs directly into the broth. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt, and bring the soup to a boil.
Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot, letting the soup cook until the lentils are tender and the chicken is cooked-through, about 30 minutes. (You can use a thermometer to make sure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF, or you can slice into it to check.)
Use tongs to remove the chicken thighs, transfer them to a cutting board, and use two forks to shred them into bite-sized pieces. Return the chicken to the pot, and stir in the coconut milk. Adjust seasoning to taste, adding more salt, if needed. (I usually add an extra 1/2 teaspoon, but it will vary depending on the sodium in the broth that you use.)
Serve with freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, if desired. (The lemon helps brighten up the flavor!)
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Try serving the leftovers over rice, too!
Instant Pot Directions:
No oil is needed for this method. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, ginger, curry, broth, and lentils to the Instant Pot and give the mixture a stir. Place the chicken thighs on top and sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon of salt.
Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Select Manual/Pressure Cook to cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes.
When the screen reads L0:10, move the steam release valve to Venting to release any remaining pressure. Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a cutting board, then use two forks to shred it.
Add the chicken back to the pot and stir in the coconut milk. Taste and adjust any seasonings. I usually add another 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt, depending on how much sodium is in the broth I use, several grinds of black pepper, and squeeze of fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavors. Serve warm.