Sunday, October 11, 2009

Red Lentil Soup

Today was a perfect fall day and that makes me want to bake bread and make soup!
While the bread was baking, I concocted a spicy red lentil soup tonight. Split red lentils are a staple in our kitchen. They're a beautiful coral color and very tiny, and they cook quickly and just sort of melt into the mix, giving a thick velvety consistency. Don't spill them on your kitchen floor. You will still be picking them up a decade after the actual spill.

Here's what I used:

1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 medium onion, chopped finely
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
3 tablespoons of red curry paste
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 cup dried split red lentils
3 cups vegetable broth
1 14 ounce can light coconut milk
1 small peeled and diced sweet potato
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons red chili powder or cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil and fry the onion until soft. Add the fenugreek and cumin and give it another minute. Then add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste and curry paste and swish that around for a couple minutes, until you can really smell the flavors intensifying. Add the veg broth, lentils, sweet potato, cilantro and coconut milk. Finally, add the nutmeg and red chili powder. Simmer partially covered on low heat until the lentils are so tender you can't really find them anymore, and the sweet potato is soft. Blend with an immersion blender until mostly smooth with just a few chunks for texture.
If you don't have an immersion blender, for the love of Darwin, get thee to Target and buy one. Alternatively, just get in there with a whisk and puree it a little.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

I was too lazy to do this tonight, but a sprinkle of chopped fresh mint, stolen from Joe and Debra's yard, would make a perfect garnish for this soup.

I ate the lovely soup with fresh warm slices of bread and (vegan) butter. If you are avoiding dairy and miss the taste of butter, I highly recommend Earth Balance spread. It contains no dairy, but it is just as tasty as butter. You can cook with it, too.

I thought about taking pictures, but this soup eats better than it photographs!


Jacquie O. said...

About a week ago I was cleaning out my "baking" shelf (it is a rommie shelf) and I saw peanut oil...and my inner thought was "what the hell did I ever use that for, and does peanut oil expire?" Anyway, it smelled funny so I tossed it. OK, that was all I wanted to tell you.

Janine Serresseque said...

Jake, you are making me laugh with your heartwarming peanut oil story!

On a completely unrelated subject, I am so happy that I get to come see Shining City now. I think I am coming on Tuesday. Whee!

Jacquie O. said...

Oh good! You will have to give me your thoughts after you see it.