My pantry

Beat the Winter Blues – Dhal Soup, or Red Lentil Love.

April 26, 2012

With nasty old Winter peering it’s head around the corner, I’ve had a few requests for my Farmhouse Chicken Soup, and I promise it’s ‘a comin’, but on a recent cold and blustery day, all the nearby shops were closed and I needed to make something out of the contents of my house…….this was it. It’s delicate blend of Indian spices make it warming without being too spicy and if you mess with the liquid ratio you can make it thicker and more dhal like or wetter and more soup like…..either way, thick or thin, it will give you wind. I promise you that, my friends. The gift that keeps on giving. (I know I talk about wind a lot, but I have to point the finger of blame at my family – and they would probably pull it. Wind is deeply ingrained as a thing to be celebrated with us lot.)

This is one of my old favourites. I’ve been making this for about 100 years and I have no idea how I first came up with the recipe. Sometimes I throw in a fresh tomato or two, sometimes I throw in a handful of chopped spinach or two….you have a play with it yourself and see where the mood takes you. D Man loves this too. I’ve been giving it to him since he was about 8 months, so it’s suitable for babes as well. He now loves it over rice with a dollop of natural yoghurt and fresh chopped coriander. I keep it a little thicker so it sticks to the spoon and he doesn’t wear it.

Yeild : a pot of soup for 4

You will need :

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 30g (or the size of index finger to knuckle) ginger, finely chopped or grated (grating is so much easier)
  • 1 level tablespoon cumin (I love cumin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon seeds
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • small handful of fresh coriander root, save leaves for garnish
  • 1.5 cups red lentils
  • 600ml chicken stock (I happened to have some freshly made in the fridge this day, but feel free to use powder)
  • 400ml water
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large stalks celery, finely chopped
  • natural yoghurt and chopped coriander leaves to serve

In a large soup pot gently sautée your onion in a little oil over a medium heat. When it goes slightly translucent add your garlic, ginger and spices. Stir until fragrant and delicious. Throw in your carrot and celery, give it a stir for a minute or so and then add your lentils. I like to give them a good stir and make sure all is well mixed and then throw in my liquid…..and really, that’s about it, kids. Bring it to the boil, then turn it down to a simmer and pop a lid on.

You will need to keep a little eye on it as the lentils will absorb the water. You can make a call whether you need more liquid or take the lid off and let it reduce if you’d like it thicker. I often play with it, flavour wise, like a total heathen at the last minute. I sometimes add a touch of garam masala, or more cumin, or chili. Start as I’ve written and play with it to your taste. Don’t be scared of spices, they are your friends and contrary to popular belief, kids love flavour.

Ladle into bowls and swirl through(or plop on) some natural yoghurt and a sprinkle of fresh coriander. If I’ve kept it chill free for D Man, I’ll add some dried at this point as I like it to have a little poke.

Enjoy your Red Lentil Love……for hours to come 😉


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  • Reply mrsdsmaunderings August 9, 2012 at 10:33 am

    mmm love lentil soup..thats a bit similar to one I make – kitchen sink soup…great way to use up anything in the vegie drawer!

  • Reply How to make baby food with flavour May 27, 2015 at 7:38 am

    […] are a great option also. My kids loved this red lentil dhal from around 9-10 months. I added yoghurt to it to make it creamy and […]

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