In India, yoghurt curries are very common – yoghurt heated gently and flavoured with spices. In the Middle East, yoghurt is used for soups, and they are also incredibly delicious.
This soup has bite and substance thanks to the handful of pearl barley. The creamy yoghurt and a wealth of spices makes this is a such a nourishing bowl.
Yoghurt and Barley Soup
2 tbsp light olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
4cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
2 tspn cumin powder
1 tspn cinnamon powder
0.5 tspn chilli powder
1 dried lime (or use lemon zest)
200g pearl barley
150g red lentils
400g chopped tomatoes
1 litre vegetable stock or water
1 Tblspn garam masala
200g Greek or Indian yoghurt
2 tspn chickpea flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
to finish – soup topping
4 Tblspn olive oil
2 onions, very thinly sliced
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
Heat the oil in a large high-sided pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 3 minutes, or until they start to soften and take on some colour.
Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, chilli powder and dried lime. Cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring all the time.
Add the barley, red lentils and chopped tomatoes to the pan, stir well, cook for 1-2 minutes then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil and
simmer for 45 minutes, or until the lentils have almost disappeared into the soup and the barley is very tender.
Meanwhile, prepare the topping for the soup. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions for 8-10 minutes or until dark golden and crisp. You might have to do this in batches adding a little more oil as you go. Make sure the onions don’t burn.
Remove the onions from the pan and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.
Place the yoghurt in a bowl and beat by hand with the chickpea flour. This minimises the chances of the soup splitting.
When the soup is cooked, squash the dried lime (if using) to release the juices, and remove. Add the garam masala and plenty of seasoning. Simmer for 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in the yoghurt and allow to heat through, but don’t boil at this stage or it may split.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve topped with crisp onions and coriander leaves. Enjoy!