Modest cook that I am, I must say this must be one of the best lentil soups I have ever prepared. I adapted it from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey. Her recipe calls for curry powder, but I always find that fresh homemade blends are far superior and accordingly have provided a substitute. Easy to prepare, along with rice or an Indian flatbread, this dish is a good choice for a mid-week meal or anytime for that matter. Slightly smoky, spicy and creamy, this healthy blend of ingredients is warming and won't fail to tickle your taste buds.
I served this as a rather unconventional vegetarian Christmas meal, along with rice, Caesar salad, Cheese Biscuits and assorted veggies.
This recipe goes to Priya, who is hosting this month's MLLA, a lovely legume event started by dear Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook.
Curried Red Lentil SoupMore lentil soups from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
1 cup of red lentils, well rinsed and drained
4 cups of water or vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 medium carrot, scrubbed and diced
a generous handful of parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped
For the seasoning:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of curry powder (or a dash of asafetida, 1/4 teaspoon of ground mustard, 1/4 teaspoon of fennel seeds, 2 - 3 finely chopped green chilies, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamon, pinch of saffron, dash of mace, dash of amchoor powder, freshly cracked black pepper and a generous handful of dried fenugreek leaves)
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
sea salt to taste
Combine the lentils and water or vegetable stock in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the turmeric, carrots and parsley, partially cover and reduce the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes or until the lentils are soft and tender, stirring occasionally.
For the seasoning, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion to the pan and stir and fry until the onion is softened and begins to brown. Now add the ginger, cumin, coriander, cayenne, curry powder (or spice blend) and stir and fry for a minute or two. Next add the tomatoes and salt and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are softened - roughly 10 minutes. Add this mixture to the cooked lentils and simmer, covered, for another ten minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more water if necessary to achieve your desired consistency. Blend a portion of the soup with an immersion blender or in a food processor or blender and serve hot.
Serves 4 - 6
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