Nourishing Curried Lentil Soup
One of the best things you can do for your health is to eat freshly prepared food. Red lentils (masoor dal) make a terrific addition to any pantry because they are quick to cook and packed with protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
Red lentils are sweet, astringent, cooling, and balancing for all doshas, especially when prepared with warming spices such as ginger, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon. To further aid digestion, add a pinch of asafoetida and a stick of kombu.
Lentils are also considered a sattvic food, so they are calming and nourishing to the mind as well as the body. Treat yourself, and enjoy this simple and tasty recipe.
Easy Curried Lentil Soup
- 1 onion, diced
- 2–3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1–2 tablespoons ghee
- 2–3 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
- ½ tsp each cumin, coriander, fennel, cinnamon, and turmeric powder or 2 teaspoons of your favorite curry powder
- Pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- 2 cups red lentils
- 1–2 cups vegetables such as carrots, green beans, peas, or yams, diced
- Salt and pepper
- 1 4–6" stick of kombu
- Lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or mustard (if desired)
Measure the lentils and sort through them to remove any small stones. Rinse and drain.
Prepare your vegetables and place them in small bowls or piles on your cutting board.
Melt the ghee in the bottom of a 5–6 quart Dutch oven and add the onion. Cook over medium-low heat for 10–15 minutes until softened. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or so. Stir in your vegetables and sauté another 5–10 minutes to allow them to soften, then stir in the cumin, coriander, fennel, cinnamon, and hing, and cook until the spices blossom, about 1 minute (you will know they are ready by their delightful fragrance). Stir in the turmeric. Once everything has blended together, remove the cooked veggies and spice mixture, and place in a bowl.
To the same pan (no need to rinse), add the prepared lentils, 4 cups of water, and the kombu, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30–60 minutes until soft, stirring every 5–10 minutes. After about 30 minutes, test to see if the lentils are ready by squeezing one between your thumb and finger. If they are still firm, continue cooking. You may need to add more water.
When the lentils are soft, add the reserved veggies and spice mixture, and simmer for a couple more minutes until everything is warm.
Add a teaspoon of salt and black pepper to taste. You might add 1–2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or even mustard to enliven the taste.
Serve over rice that has been cooked in water or coconut milk. Add your chosen condiments and enjoy!
Serve with cut lime quarters, ghee, cilantro, and grated coconut, and let your family or guests add what they are drawn to.
Different condiments can be added to further balance the doshas:
- Additional ginger and ghee may be added to help calm vata.
- Additional cilantro, grated coconut, or coconut milk can be added to calm pitta.
- ½ teaspoon chili powder or brown mustard seeds may be added to the spices at the beginning of cooking to balance kapha.
(If you’re cooking for a smaller group, this recipe can easily be cut in half.)
To your health!