Global Veg » A Culinary Journal

Red Lentil and Lime Soup

I always gravitate towards making soup when the forecast calls for really cold weather (remember the vegan Creamy Potato Soup I made when we had snow here in early January?) Well, snow is on the way again tomorrow for my area. Here’s my answer: a red lentil and lime soup.

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This simple and healthy soup originates from Southern India.

When I was a child, I thought the soup got its color from the citrus (sometimes lemons are used too). The yellow coloring is actually from turmeric, one of the healthiest spices out there.

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Like most of the recipes from India, every family will have their own special way of preparing each dish. Their own combination and proportion of spices.

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This is certainly true for the spice blend used in this recipe- it’s my mom’s.

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Turmeric, black pepper, limes, cilantro. This soup is great as a New Year’s detox, or to ward away a cold. Soothing, warm, comforting– from its fragrance to its taste.

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Make the spice blend:

Heat a 1/4 teaspoon of olive/peanut oil or ghee (ghee is traditional but olive  or peanut oil works fine if you are vegan) in a small skillet.

To the oil add:

2 teaspoons gram dhal (“yellow split peas”)

2 teaspoons urad dhal (“ivory lentils”)

2 teaspoons whole black pepper

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

pinch of asafoetida

a few curry leaves (if available)

Roast until golden.

At the end of roasting, add 2 teaspoons of grated coconut (dry is fine) and mix well.

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Grind to a powder in a spice grinder (or a coffee grinder dedicated to spices).

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Make the soup:

Put a large soup pot on the stovetop.

Add 1/2 cup red lentils and 1 teaspoon turmeric with 5 cups of water water and cook until soft (about 30 minutes).

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Lightly mash the lentils. The water will evaporate as the lentils cook, so add more water as needed (to get back to about 5 cups).

Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of the spice blend to start. Salt to taste (start at 1 teaspoon). Add more of the spice blend if you would like it spicier.

In a very small skillet or ladle, heat 1/4 teaspoon ghee or peanut/olive oil. Add 1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds.

When the mustard seeds start popping, add to the soup.

Remove from the heat.

Add fresh squeezed juice of 1 lime.

Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.

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Serve as a soup or mix in some rice for a light meal.

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