Updated: Feb 26, 2022
For me, there's nothing much more satisfying than a bowl of this soup. I change up the spices and veggies depending on the season, and I encourage you to do the same as you get more used to the process. This makes an excellent light dinner with the option to add onto the plate to make it more substantial.
(photo by Saori Hirabayashi)
1/2 C red lentils--can also use yellow split mung, or my favorite: half red, half yellow. (just make sure it is the split mung beans and not yellow split peas)
2 C water, you will need to play with this ratio to get the consistency you like-- can also sub veggie broth to make it heartier.
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin seeds. This is another one to play with, often I will use mustard seeds when I want something with more of a bite. If I'm feeling like i want spicy, I may throw in some chili pepper or if I want something with a little more smokey I may add in black cumin)
1/2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp sesame oil (can use coconut or ghee to make it richer)
optional: 1/2- 1 C cut hard veggies like carrots or sweet potato, and/or leafy greens like spinach or swiss chard
lime (or lemon) wedge & chopped cilantro for serving
salt & pepper to taste
soak the lentils for 30 minutes (not necessary, but I like that it helps to soften the beans), agitate water, and then strain water from beans to remove debris. Don't use the water for cooking!
heat up oil
In a kettle or pan, heat up water (you want to avoid adding cold water to the beans to avoid shocking)
In a quart pan (or one you would use for soup) heat up oil on medium heat until it glistens, about 1 minute, it shouldn't be smoking, but should swirl around the pan easily. Add cumin--or whatever whole spices you are using-- and wait until fragrant. it will sizzle a little, but again, you are looking more for the aromatics to be released. This is a tricky spot and requires all attention to make sure they don't burn
add turmeric and coriander and give it a swirl until you get the aroma
stir in lentils and coat with the spices
bring to boil
add any hard veggies
reduce to simmer and keep an eye on it, it will usually take 20 to 30 minutes to feel integrated. you may choose to add more water or broth anywhere along this process
use a potato masher, whisk, immersion blender or regular blender to achieve the consistency you like
about 5 to 10 minutes before the end of cook time, add in your leafy greens if using.
I like to serve with lime and cilantro on the side but also can put it directly on the soup, or m=omit completely
I may serve this up with bread or chapatis, white or brown rice, and some steamed veggies if I omitted them in the soup. A sprinkle of sea salt and pepper, fresh herbs and the lemon or lime, Nice add ons are toasted sunflower seeds, and a drizzle of Braggs aminos if people want a saltier flavor.