101 Cookbooks Favorite – Red Lentil Soup

Coconut Red Lentil Soup - photo courtesy Heidi Swanson (www.101cookbooks.com)
Coconut Red Lentil Soup – photo courtesy Heidi Swanson (www.101cookbooks.com)

This recipe draws from an Ayurvedic dal (lentil-based) soup recipe. The word Ayurvedic combines the sanskrit ayur (life) with veda (science or knowledge) and is a study spanning several thousands of years. Learn more about the fascinating history and study of Ayurvedic Medicine on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) site and from Deepak Chopra’s site.

Colorful and flavored with ginger and carrot, this extremely simple soup can be served with brown rice as a stew or by itself on a chill Fall evening. Use the full-fat coconut milk to get the most flavor and healthy fats.

Recipe courtesy Heidi Swanson (www.101cookbooks.com), which is an always reliable source for simple and utterly delicious recipes.

1 cup / 7 oz / 200g yellow split peas
1 cup 7 oz / 200g red split lentils (masoor dal)
7 cups / 1.6 liters water
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons butter or ghee
8 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
1/3 cup / 1.5 oz / 45g golden raisins
1/3 / 80 ml cup tomato paste
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
one small handful cilantro, chopped

cooked brown rice or farro, for serving (optional)

Give the split peas and lentils a good rinse – until they no longer put off murky water. Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1/4 of the ginger. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.

In the meantime, in a small dry skillet or saucepan over low heat, toast the curry powder until it is quite fragrant. Be careful though, you don’t want to burn the curry powder, just toast it. Set aside. Place the butter in a pan over medium heat, add half of the green onions, the remaining ginger, and raisins. Saute for two minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and saute for another minute or two more.

Add the toasted curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so. The texture should thicken up, but you can play around with the consistency if you like by adding more water, a bit at a time, if you like. Or simmer longer for a thicker consistency. The thicker this soup got, the more I liked it.

I’ve been enjoying big ladles of this soup over ~1/2 cup of warm farro (leftover from this Farro & Bean Stew) – brown rice was good as well. Sprinkle each bowl generously with cilantro and the remaining green onions.

Serves 6.

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