Recipe Swap 2006 - Soup & Salad
South Indian Inspired Lentil Soup
(Rachel & Josh)
Best Soup

Group 1: Boil till soft Group 2: Chop (or food process)
2 cups brown lentils (the grocery store variety) 2 medium onions, diced
1 cup red lentils* 2-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 Knorr vegetarian bullion cube 1-2 chili peppers, cayenne, Serrano or similar, minced
Water to cover 2+ times 3/4 inch ginger, peeled and minced
Optional: dash or 3 of Asafetida (a.k.a. hing)**
Group 3: Spices Group 4: final additions
1 Tbsp butter 1 tsp salt or more/less to taste
1 Tbsp oil (any kind you like, or use all oil and skip the butter for a vegan soup) Juice of ˝ lemon
1 ˝ tsp cumin seed
1 tsp black mustard seed (optional – it’s mostly for texture)
1 ˝ tsp turmeric
˝ tsp ground fenugreek
handful of curry leaves***

The process:

  1. Rinse the lentils in cold water a couple times. This cleans the beans and some say reduces flatulence.
  2. Add the remainder of the group 1 items to pot, and boil till beans are soft, about 1 hr on the stovetop or 3-5 hrs in a crockpot. Add water if it gets too dry, at any point in process.
  3. Chop the group 2 items, as noted.
  4. Heat a large frying pan on high/med and add oil and butter, then cumin and mustard seeds. Fry till they pop (1 minute)
  5. Add the chopped items to pan, then add all the other spices except for the salt. Fry on till browned and soft, about 5 minutes, reducing the temperature and stirring if things get out of control.
  6. Add fried stuff to soup. Optional: deglaze pan with a bit of water and add that also to soup too.
  7. Add salt, lemon juice, and taste-test, adjust salt or spice if desired. Let cook for another 15 minutes, min.

*Red lentils can be found at Indian and Middle Eastern grocery stores. Alternate name is masoor dal. Extra brown lentils or yellow split peas may also be used. It’s not that critical.
**Asafetida supposedly helps with bean digestibility and is used in Indian cooking sometimes as a substitute for onion flavor. It smells like ass.
***Curry leaves are a key flavor element, but can be omitted. They’re hard to find. Sources: Russo’s market in Watertown, or maybe an Indian grocery store. They keep for a long time and also freeze well.