October 15, 2012

Lentil Soup Indian Style

Last summer I had a really nice bowl of soup.  We were in a restaurant and out of many wonderful choices  I chose Indian lentil soup...and was not disappointed!  And actually, I went to another restaurant that was actually Indian...and I loved the salad.  So I thought that my next food challenge is to learn to cook a good, brown lentil soup and to make a spicy salad with chick peas.  Indian.  Mmmm...

When I look for a recipe, I open several pages in the amazing world of net and take notes of the recipes.  I usually don't follow strictly one recipe (this is for main meals), but I find inspiration and ideas and mix and match.   I think the core of my recipe comes from here, but I added ingredients from other recipes I found as well.

My free style recipe idea page
The basic idea of the brown lentil soup is pretty simple: onion, lentils and spices.  The spices are really really important.  I am from Finland, where you can cook several main courses and never use anything else but salt and black pepper.  We are not into wild spicy mixes and stuff!  Therefore part of my learning to cook interesting food is learning to use interesting spices.  I have collected several jars and little parcels and bags of different spices already.  They are making my spice cupboard to look pretty and I am determined to use them!!!

Red and white
This particular night I started with an onion and a beet.  See, I am making a mess of the recipe already; there was no beet in the many recipes I found...but then I saw this article in the blog Kauhaa ja Rakkautta, and I wanted to add a beet into my soup.  I had beets and they had to be eaten! 

Going to the sauce pan!
Chop onion finely... Beets take a long time to cook, so I made the cubes quite small.  I started to cook the beet and the onion in a medium amount of oil.  Cook until the onion is transparent. Ignore the beet.  

Pretty spices! 
Then take out the spices!  Aren't they beautiful? I didn't have everything that the recipes suggested, but I found several other options...For example, I substituted fresh ginger with ginger powder and just left the red pepper flakes out.  Instead I found a bag of small red chili peppers and put one in.  And I think instead of Garam Masala I had Tikka Masala...and my coriander was dried, not fresh. 

This soup is going to be spicy!
The whole cumin seeds need to be crushed, but I was not very careful about making them into powder.  So, throw the spices on top of  the onion (and the beet) that are cooking in the oil and cook for few seconds.  This will intensify the spiciness.  The curry powder I have is really strong...so smaller amount is fine, too. 

Rinse the brown lentils and add them into the saucepan with 3 cups of water.  Let simmer until the lentils cook.  This will take at least 15 minutes, but I prefer the lentils quite soft, so I let them cook for at least half an hour.

I was not sure how the kids would feel about the "only lentils" kind of a soup, so I added potatoes and carrots.  I thought if the soup is too spicy, I just pull the veggies out and let them eat those.  

Let it cook until everything is, well, cooked.  Add salt, and whenever it looks like there should be more water, add more water! 
At the very end the recipe calls for plain yogurt.  I had some coconut milk powder and I used that instead.  I love the smoothness of coconut milk in soups!  I guess you could use cream too, but do not let it boil in that case. 

We added kefir on top and this is how the spicy brown lentil soup looked like:
We all loved it, even kids enjoyed it...calling it spicy but not toooo spicy!

p.s. make sure you find the red chili pepper before someone accidentally eats it!  Ahem. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Kommentin jättäminen on tervetullutta! Kuka olet, mistä löysit tänne, mitä mietit?