Curried Red Lentil Soup

March 24, 2009 at 3:48 am (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Beans, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, soup)

I have a recipe for Turkish red lentil soup that I like a lot, but today I was in the mood for something a bit different, and decided to try this curried red lentil soup recipe from Peter Berley’s Modern Vegetarian Kitchen.

  • 1.5 cups split red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 celery ribs with leaves, halved lengthwise and chopped
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter or light sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs. mellow curry powder
  • 3/4 – 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • serve with chopped fresh cilantro and plain lowfat or whole milk yogurt
  1. Combine the red lentils, water, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a 4 to 5 quart pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the vegetables and make the curry powder.  Combine the vegetables, butter, curry powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a skillet.  Saute over high heat for about 2 minutes until the vegetables start to brown.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. When the lentils are cooked, add the vegetables and their juices to the pot with the lentils.  Simmer the soup for 5 to 10 minutes, until the flavors have combined.
  4. Serve with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro in each bowl, and a big dollop of plain yogurt.

Berley’s recipe called for kombu but I didn’t have any so I just left it out.  He gives a recipe for mellow curry powder in his book, which is a bit odd in that it calls for caraway seeds.  It didn’t actually smell like curry powder to me, and the soup didn’t exactly taste curried.  However, the soup did taste good with the yogurt and cilantro.  It definitely needed the yogurt though–without it the soup tasted too plain.  Derek liked the soup as well.  He said he wouldn’t rave about it, but it was very good, despite the fact that he claims to “not be a soup person.”  He liked the big slices of carrot, said the texture and flavor was really nice.  Derek did add a bit more of the curry powder to make the soup stronger tasting, however.  Berley’s recipe for mellow curry powder makes about 1/3 cup, and I made 1/4 of it, which yielded a little more than a Tablespoon.  Next time I’d just go ahead and throw the whole thing in.  Also, I’d add the salt to the curry powder to help grind up the spices, rather than adding it directly to the vegetables.

Curry powder, modified slightly:

  • 1.5 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 3/4 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 slightly heaped tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • slightly heaped 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • large pinch of cayenne pepper

Rating: B+

Derek: B/B+

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