After Easter weekend, for meatless Monday I am sharing a cleansing and nourishing soup because as is the case with many holidays, more often than not rich foods and overabundant portions grace our tables. This vibrant soup is not only easy to make, but full of lovely and subtle flavours. It makes for a perfect light lunch or side for dinner. Sometimes there is nothing better than a warm soup. Yes, spring seems to be poking around, and I gather a few robins have been sighted, but it’s still mainly soup weather if you ask me.
Spicy Yellow Lentil Tomato Soup
- 1 cup toor dal or yellow split peas
- 7 – 9 cups water
- 4 large plum tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 – 3 fresh chilies, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (I used Kashmiri)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar or jaggery
- generous handful of dried curry leaves, crumbled
- handful fresh parsley or coriander, chopped
For the tarka:
- 2 – 3 tablespoons oil
- 2 – 3 red chilies, broken into bits
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
Wash the lentils well under warm water. Transfer to a large pot, along with 7 cups of water and let sit for about 30 minutes as you assemble the ingredients.
Bring the dal to a boil with the water, reduce the heat to medium and cover and simmer until the dal is soft, stirring occasionally – about 25 – 30 minutes.
Now add the tomatoes and more water if you want a thinner soup. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for another 5 minutes or so. Puree some of the soup with a immersion blender or transfer some of the soup to a food processor and then return to the pot.
Now mix in the ginger, chilies, salt, ground spices, sugar and curry leaves and cook for another few minutes.
For the tarka, heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the chilies, cumin seeds and mustard seeds to the pan. Stir and fry until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Quickly add the asafetida, and pour into the dal. Stir, cover, turn off the heat and let sit for 10 – 15 minutes to blend the flavors.
Can be made ahead of time and gently reheated before serving. In fact, it’s better the next day as the flavours really get a chance to meld and blend.
Serves 6 – 8
Serve with a bed of hot buttered basmati rice, or if you want to dress your rice up, [highlight]Yellow Lemon Rice with Fried Cashews[/highlight] along with some Indian flatbreads, [highlight]Chickpea Koftas[/highlight] and a vegetable dish for a balanced and satisfying meal.