Some things just get better with time, and this red lentil soup is a prime example. Warm, spicy and sustaining, it’s my idea of a perfect winter lunch. And if you make a double batch for a double family supper (including both parents and in-laws), you’re bound to have leftovers for a few meals beyond.
We were given beautiful fresh ginger in our organic vegetable box last week, but of course you may use dried and powdered if it’s more convenient. This recipe is adapted from Deborah Madison’s yellow spilt pea soup, courtesy of The Greens Cookbook.
Spicy red lentil soup
25 g butter
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 tspn ground cumin
1 tspn black mustard seeds
2 bay leaves
300 g split red lentils
1 large red sweet potato
1¼ litres vegetable stock
400 ml can coconut milk
freshly ground black pepper
30 g parsley
Soak lentils for 30 minutes, rinse well and drain.
Sauté the onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, mustard seeds and bay leaves in the butter. Keep the heat medium-low and stir for 5 minutes. Add peeled, chopped carrots and sweet potato, stir in the lentils, and cover with the stock and coconut milk. Simmer gently for 30 minutes or until lentils are soft and the vegetables tender.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper; add coarsely chopped parsley, grated lemon rind and lemon juice to taste. Cool briefly before puréeing with a stick blender until smooth. If necessary, add more water to thin the texture of the soup.
The soup is delicious served with spiced yoghurt: mix plain yoghurt with a little turmeric, paprika, cumin, sugar and salt.