Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Lentil Coriander Soup

Most people seem to have a love-hate relationship with soups. There are the keen aficionados who love everything from the fiery Tom Yum to the nostalgic "sweet corn" soup. And then there are the nay sayers who consider it "diet" food or even "patient" food! I fall into the former category and love trying out different soups. There was a time in my life though when I had only clear soups for almost a year, so that pretty much kept me off soups for the next two years when I actually started eating solid food.

But now I'm back to experimenting both at home and when I'm out - the Tom Yum at The Kitchen in Delhi's Khan Market is absolutely amazing as is the Roasted Pumpkin Soup in Chennai's Eden. I particularly like noodle soups and other one pot meal soups like this one made with beans. I recently tried the Laksa at a new restaurant in Delhi called Tasty Tangles and it was so good we ordered seconds - the coconut milk was just right - not too creamy and spiced just right!

Speaking of coconut milk brings me to the subject of this post - a lovely lentil soup made just a little creamier with some coconut milk and flavoured with lots of coriander. This was one half of a typical soup and salad meal at home - going through my posts I realised that we tend to do these a lot especially during summer when the thought of a full meal is just too oppressive.
I paired the lentil soup with a quasi-Caesar salad - chicken,peppers and bread croutons roasted together with olive oil and herbs but served without the all important mayonnaise dressing - I instead tossed it with a simple vinaigrette. The combination made a very nice meal - lots of protein from the chicken and the lentils and the crunchiness of the bread croutons going wonderfully with the creamy soup.

This lentil soup uses red lentils (masur dal) cooked together with ginger and garlic. I didn't bother blending it in a processor and instead just mashed them with the back of the ladle and mixed in the coconut milk before returning it to the stove. Lots of coriander really lifts this soup, so don't skimp!

This Lentil Coriander soup goes to No Croutons Required - that amazing soup and salad event hosted by Lisa and Holler. This month's event focuses on leaves! "We are looking for a soup or salad that features leaves. Think spinach, watercress, kale, swiss chard, salad leaves, herbs ... Go crazy! If it's leafy, then add it!" says Holler.

Lentil Coriander Soup

Red lentils - 3/4 cup (soaked for 15 - 30 min)
Ginger - 1 inch piece whole or grated
Garlic - 6 cloves
Green chillies - 2 whole, slit
Tomato - 1 chopped
Onion - 1 chopped fine
Oil - 1 tbsp
Coconut milk - 1 cup (I use fresh, but canned is fine too)
Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup chopped
salt to taste
freshly crushed peppercorns - 1 tsp
1. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan or in a pressure pan.
2. Add the ginger, garlic and green chillies and saute 1 min. Then add the finely chopped onions and fry for 3-4 minutes. Once transluscent add the tomato and fry for a further 2 minutes.
3. Add the soaked dal, 6-7 cups of water and cook on the stove till soft and mushy; or pressure cook for 2 whistles.
4. If there is excess water, drain it off and reserve and mash the dal with the back of spoon taking care to remove the slit green chillies and the ginger piece (if not grated). You can also run this through the food processor after cooling it.
5. Add back the reserved lentil stock and the coconut milk to get the consistency you want. Put in the chopped coriander, salt and crushed pepper and simmer gently on low, for about 3-4 minutes taking care not to boil.
6. Serve warm.


Happy cook said...

I love most of the soups as here we have soup for lunch a small bowl before the meal.
I love this soup especially as there is coconut milk in it.

Supriya Nair said...

Yummy post there Miri....the soup looks wonderful and so delightful that I wish I could barge in and have it...

Bong Mom said...

This is my favorite Dal, no c. milk though

Vaishali said...

That soup looks totally creamy. The coconut must add a really delicious note, Miri.

A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine said...

Looks so yummy.

Arch said...

You come up with soem really interesting soups...I like soups, but S doesnt, so I hardly ever make them, or stick to regular ones when I do...Your pumpkin soup sounds wonderful...must try it...Back in Amd and its so ridiculously hot :(

Kitchen Flavours said...

Oh wow that's an awesome soup...looks creamy and yum..

no croutons required said...

Sounds lovely! Thank for submitting it to this month's No Croutons Required and good luck :)

Dazy said...

I like soups in winter, warming nourishing and usually make my own.
This one looks little thick and my kids like thick one too. It would be healthy too for them.