This is my infamous/signature soup. I have made it for just about everyone I know, from the veggiest vegans to the meatiest carnivores and the unanimous opinion is: YUM. :) It was inspired by a more simple dahl recipe from a spirited Indian family cookbook given to me by my beautiful soul-sister friend, Gloria.
This soup is nice hot or cold, in any season, and you can be creative with additions or garnishes. It is both light and filling, with a richness a carnivore could love. I am no longer in the business of pressure-converting people into Veg-Heads; but if I were... I would enlist this recipe as my secret weapon.
~Indian Red Lentil Soup~
1 cup organic Mashoor Dahl/Red Lentils
3 cups Water
1 tbsp Mustard Oil
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/4-1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 Vegetable Boullion Cube
3 additional cups Water
2 additional tbsp Mustard Oil
2 Dried Red Chilis
1/2 rounded tsp Cumin seeds
1 whole Garlic Clove
In a large pot with lid, bring lentils and 3 cups water to a boil. Skim surface of water to remove foam that may develop after a rolling bowl. Add 1 tbsp mustard oil, turmeric and cayenne. Let simmer covered for 15 minutes.
Now, using a potato masher or other flat utensil, mash the lentils until sort of creamed through. It's fine to still have some whole lentils and a little bit of texture, but for the most part you want them nice and worked and creamy. Add the salt and some of the reserved 3 cups of water to loosen the lentils, cover and simmer.
In a separate small fry pan, heat the mustard oil at slightly over med-high heat. Fry the whole dried chilis until black, garlic until golden. Add cumin seeds and flash fry for only five seconds, immediately add the sambar/oil to the pot of lentils. This is fun, as it will sizzle! Cook on medium for five more minutes to infuse flavors.
Remove the chili pods and garlic clove, add remaining water and vegetable stock cube. Bring soup back up to a boil for five more minutes. Turn off heat and stir well to incorporate. Add or subtract water at this point/adjust salt content.
*Optional Garnishes include, chopped fresh cilantro, chopped nuts, vegan cream.
*Red lentils should be readily available at natural food markets, in bulk sections and at chains like Whole Foods.
*This soup is nice with added cooked rice, quinoa, assorted cooked vegetables. Be creative and have fun with it. :)
*I buy the mustard oil at a specialty Indian grocer in town. If you do not have access to one of these, try looking around at natural food markets, see if you can special order it. If you can't find mustard oil, olive oil works fine. You will lose some richness and depth of flavor, but the soup is lighter and still incredibly delicious.
*Omit the garlic if you are not a fan. It won't change the flavor profile that much. For a reduced-sodium diet, just use the vegetable cube and omit the additional salt. Using 1/4 tsp cayenne, the soup is mild, using 1/2 tsp will give it a pleasing, noticable heat for those spice lovers out there.
Thank you for reading my Indian Soup Recipe! If you like it, please vote. If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your comments. *P.S. Why do they call red lentils red when they are orange? I have always wondered this about red/purple onion as well. Lol. :)