Friday, January 15, 2010

Indian Lentil Soup

If you had an hour or two, with no pressures and no responsibilities, time to do whatever you wished, what would you do? Would you go for a long walk, read a book, listen to music or do something else. All of us have our own ways of taking a break and for relaxing.

If I had such an opportunity, I would happily curl up on a chair with a good book, some soft classical instrumental music on the stereo and a hot cup of ginger tea in my hand. Since I am creating fantasy scenarios, mine also includes the above mentioned hour or two as being completely uninterrupted by telephones, cell phones or the door bell. Ahh bliss !

I am a voracious reader and reading good books is always at the top of my great ways to relax list. I also hate to leave a mystery book or a whodunit unread or worse half read. Unfortunately time to read is not something I have much of these days.

That does not mean I have stopped visiting my local library. The library still provides a treasure trove of books that I never seem to find when I visit bookstores. One such book that I recently checked out was called 1001 Vegetarian recipes. I am not able to recall the name of the author, but it had a lot of interesting recipes in them.

One recipe that caught my attention was an Indian Lentil soup. I loved the simplicity of the recipe and made it soon after I saw it. I modified the recipe quite a bit and loved the final taste of this soup. It reminded me a little of dal makhni, only lighter and not as creamy. The substitution of yogurt instead of cream also makes this soup comparatively low fat.

Indian lentil soup photo 4f3e89e5-649d-49c7-ac55-aac00c461377_zps6ea7862f.jpg

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and Method to make Indian Lentil soup

1 large onion cut fine
1 1/2 cup dry lentils (brown)
3 cups stock or water ( I used water) + approximately 3 cups water

1 tbsp olive oil (or any other oil)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1/2 tsp garam masala ( my recipe for homemade garam masala can be found here )
1 tsp kitchen king masala (or any other curry powder to taste)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste) (optional)
salt to taste

Crush together (see notes)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 inch piece ginger

1/4 cup plain yogurt (curds/dahi) (Can be skipped for a vegan version)

Additional yogurt (can be skipped for a vegan version) and red pepper flakes as required for garnish

Crush cumin seeds, coriander seeds and ginger with a mortar and pestle and keep aside. Alternatively dry grind the cumin seeds and coriander seeds in your spice grinder, then add ginger, a few drops of water and grind to a fine paste. I used the mortar and pestle (for a quicker version see notes)

Wash lentils, drain and keep aside.

Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan, add onions and saute until onions are transparent.

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Add crushed spices, turmeric powder and the rest of the spices and stir for a second or two.

Add lentils and about 3 cups of water and let it simmer until lentils cook.

When the lentils are almost cooked, add salt to taste and add additional water as required.
I needed about another 3 cups of water but it will depend on how much evaporation has occurred etc. Continue to cook lentils until soft but not mushy.

Lower heat and add the yogurt and mix it in thoroughly.

Serve this soup hot with a dollop of plain yogurt and red pepper flakes with some crackers on the side. Or for some fusion try this with some crushed tortilla chips on top :)

Serves approximately 2 to 3

You can use whole red or brown lentils for this soup, I used brown lentils

In a pinch, you can use 1/2 tsp cumin powder and 1/2 tsp coriander powder instead of crushing spices. Grate ginger if you plan to use powdered spices. After onions are sauteed until transparent, add ginger then cumin and coriander powder, stir a few times and proceed with the rest of the recipe as above.  

Suggested variations:
You can sprout the lentils for a day and add to the soup for added nutrition

This healthy, low fat and protein rich soup is my first contribution to the Healthy Inspirations event with the theme soup that is being held on this site.


miss v said...

usha -
that looks great! so hearty and filling. and it sorta looks like a twist on split pea soup. i love lentils- i can't wait to try it.

Devasena Hariharan said...

Your template is good. Has it a makeover. Looks superb! I like the post intros in all ur posts.
Its different

Rachana said...

Dear Usha,
The Soup looks delicious and healthy:)

Finla said...

I thought you were explaning what i wanted to have ;-)
Have not read for a while, have lods of books to catch up; the pile next to my bed is getting biger and bigger.
Filling soup.

kitchen queen said...

A healthy refreshing and appetising soup.

FH said...

You are right. It is hard to find time for reading at a stretch as we used to when we were younger. Hate to put down, do chores and then get back to reading again now! :D

Dish looks great, love the photo.

lata raja said...

That is what I would do too when I have few hours at my disposal.
The soup looks it woould amke a wholesome meal.

Preeti Kashyap said...

Lovely and a filling soup! I love reading too...and its high time I make a visit to the lib!

kittymatti said...

wow! Look at that presentation! Pass that bowl here

Priya Suresh said...

Soup looks thick,filling and prefectly healthy....lovely..

Anonymous said...

how simple yet how comforting it can be..very nice and I liked that u dint add cream and chose to add yogurt instead.

Unknown said...

Yes, to soup anytime. looks yum.

kitchen queen said...

the lentil soup looks healthy refreshing and delicious.

Unknown said...

Soup looks reammy comforting and filling.

Unknown said...

looks delicious...nice and healthy..i have resumed reading like crazy again ..had almost stopped till my kid was 2 1/2 years old..

Cynthia said...

I can eat this daily.

Deepa G Joshi said...

wow..this looks so the presentation..superb..

Gita Jaishankar said...

I too love curling up with a good book and a cup of hot tea :)...your soup looks tasty Usha...I never tried adding curry powder to lentil soups..looks and sounds delicious!

CurryLeaf said...

GREAT, hearty and filling. Wonderful & comforting soup

Unknown said...

Hi Usha, the dal is mouthwatering. Well I dream of doing the same things that you have mentioned here. A good book, cosy place, and a nice cup of tea would really place me in seventh heaven...hope to have that soon in the near future...alas the time ....

Valarmathi Sanjeev said...

Yummy soup, looks delicious and healthy.

Indhu said...

When I read the first few lines of your post, I was telling myself that you are my soul sister. There is nothing I like better than curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee. I usually make sure that my phone is nowhere near me during that time :)

Dershana said...

give me a book, the chai, plus a bowl brimming with roasted peanuts, and some peace and quiet :-)

adding lentils to soup is something that i must acquire a taste used to lentil curries,poriyals and kootus. the picturelooks tempting!

Mahimaa's kitchen said...

lovely picture. looks so inviting.

Anonymous said...

the soup looks great and healthy

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