Day 11 – Red Lentil and Coconut Soup
Lentils get bad press. They shouldn’t, but they do. Despite all attempts to bring them into our kitchens, we invariably negate sound nutritional advice with, ‘yes but they taste bad and make me smell much worse.’
To which I say: You may equate lentil soup with smelly students in flea-infested digs, but if we had all eaten like this as students we would not have complained in the least.
This really is fabulous and doesn’t need much embellishment but there’s no reason you couldn’t use it as a base and add a range of suitable vegetables. Sweet potato, carrot or even a tin of diced tomatoes could all be added.
As for the consistency of the soup, I prefer it thicker, but you may want to add some more water to the mixture to lighten it up. Just wait until the end of cooking time, once the lentils are completely cooked through before adding some boiled water from the kettle.
Also, it’s worth noting that lentils are the only dried pulse that you DON’T have to soak before using, saving you valuable time. Just rinse them, pick them over for any bits of grit and throw them into the pot. Too easy.
1 tbsp vegetable oil; 1 large brown onion, finely sliced; ½ tsp turmeric; 1 tsp cumin; 1 tsp garam masala; 1 bird’s-eye chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced; 1 cup (200g) red lentils, rinsed and picked over to remove impurities; 1 x 400g can coconut cream; 2 carrots, diced (OR 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced, OR 1 x 400g can diced tomatoes); 1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock; sea salt to taste; zest and juice of one lime plus 1 extra lime to serve; fresh coriander leaves to serve (optional)
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large heavy-based stock pot. Add the onion and sauté for five minutes until the onions are soft and starting to colour. Add the spices and chilli and stir well to coat the onions. Cook for a further minute until the spices become fragrant.
Add the lentils, coconut cream, carrots and stock – stir well to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 40 minutes until the lentils expand and soften.
Just before serving, check for seasoning with salt, then add the zest and juice of one lime.
Serve with coriander leaves scattered over the top if using, a wedge of lime on the side and some garlic naan if you are feeling so inclined.
$6.90 for four people