Red lentil is such a good source of protein and dietary fiber--nutrients that my simple Vietnamese diet often lack. I've realized that ingredients that I don't really care for taste much better when pounded into a spread or pureed into a soup. I've been cooking a lot of soup because it has become a much more exciting affair in my kitchen since I got my hands on the Cuisinart CSB-76 Smart Stick Hand Blender.
E and S have loved lentil soup for a long time, and I can't believe I let the deceptive legume get between this soup and me. Sure, I've had it a couple times at Italian and Indian restaurants, but there were no sparks there. But something definitely happened tonight. Could it be that fresh home-made soups just taste a thousand times better? Or am I just born with the natural ability to make delicious lentil soup? Regardless, I'm now a convert and there will be various types of lentil soups to come. This soup was so rich and savory that I think you could even forgo the chicken/vegetable broth and not sacrifice taste.
Red Lentil Soup
(Yields 6 Appetizer Portions)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 6-8 curry leaves
- 3 Thai bird’s eye chilies, chopped
- Sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
- 2 cups chicken/vegetable broth
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup red lentils, washed & drained
- Fine extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- Chili flakes
- Dried mint
- Chopped fresh cilantro
Heat up a soup pot and drizzle with olive oil. Throw in onion and sauté until golden and soft. Add garlic and toss till fragrant.
Add tomato, tomato paste, cumin, turmeric, curry leaves, chilies, salt and pepper and sauté for another few minutes.
Add broth, water and lentils. Partially cover, allowing a bit of room for steam to escape, and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Remove curry leaves and adjust seasoning.
Puree soup to desired consistency. Ladle into a soup bowl and drizzle with fine olive oil. Garnish with a lemon wedge, a pinch of dried mint, chopped cilantro, chili flakes and serve with some toasted pita bread or baguette.