Cooking with Alison

Indian Lentil Soup

In Indian, Soups and Salads on April 29, 2010 at pm

Most Indian lentil soups are pureed and very thick.  But the vegetable soup that I had at a popular local Indian restaurant was light, brothy, lemony, and in my opinion, much better than the typical pureed lentil soup.  So I re-created it at home.  You can easily adjust the water or boiling time to achieve your preferred consistency.  See here for tips on how to get the most flavour out of your Indian spices.

Indian Lentil Soup Recipe

1/2 cup dried mung dal (yellow split lentils), soaked in water for 24 hours then rinsed and drained

2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth

4 1/2 cups water (Note:  if you prefer a thicker soup, reduce the amount of water)

1 small onion, diced finely

2 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee (recipe here)

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 lemon, 1/2 of it sliced thinly with the other half reserved for juice

1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat ghee or vegetable oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot (I use a ceramic dutch oven) over medium heat.  Cook the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the pre-soaked lentils, broth, and water and bring to a boil, covered.  Stir occasionally.  Then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil covered for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  I like this soup to be very brothy, so increase the boiling time, uncovered, until you achieve your preferred consistency.  Remove from heat and adjust salt to taste.  Add the ground cumin and ground coriander.  Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until the lentils are as smooth as possible (this is important because in this soup, the ratio of water to lentils is so high that the lentils will separate from the liquid and could seem a bit sandy in texture, but that’s how it was in the restaurant where I first tried this).  Then add the juice of half a lemon.  Place a slice of lemon and a pinch of fresh cilantro on the bottom of each soup bowl.  Mix the soup well before ladling into the bowls.  Serve hot and immediately after plating.

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