Aah, the dreaded dead of Winter. Stay warm – here is a lentil soup, tomato-based, nice and lemony, to warm those chilled bones. I also make this on those Spring days when the weather gods have forgotten that Summer is coming and have plunged us back into the depths of rainy, windy Winter.
The recipe is easy. I never advocate using tinned lentils, but if you must, this is a definite mid-week recipe, cooked in under 30 mins. The tang is from preserved lemons (I often use Indian Lime Pickles instead). Use any brown or brown-green lentil – supermarket Brown Lentils, Du Puy, Beluga, Horse Gram, Matki Beans will all make wonderful soup.
Have I said that this is easy? There is something about lentil soups – this one smells delicious as it cooks. It is a combination of the lentils and the lemon. I often cook soups first thing in the morning, around 5am or 6am, as I am a morning person and definitely a morning cook. Cooking soup on a very cold winter’s morning is the most welcoming sight and aroma as the rest of the family eventually greet the day. It also gives some time for the flavours in the soup to meld and mature during the day before eating it with crusty bread and a good wine for dinner (or lunch, if you can’t wait that long).
We have been making this easy soup since 1998, can you believe! It first appeared on our very first blog from 1995 – 2006. Maybe you saw it there!
Lemony Tomato-Lentil Soup
2 Tblspn olive oil or ghee
1 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely or minced
2 tspn cumin seeds
2 Tblspn tomato paste or 0.5 cup pureed tomatoes, or 0.5 cup passata
2 Tblspn preserved lemon or Indian Pickled Limes, chopped
2 cups cooked brown lentils (made from 1 cup uncooked lentils) – use any variety of brown, brown-green or green lentils
2 cups water or vegetable stock
0.5 cups roughly chopped coriander
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
To garnish (optional)
chopped preserved lemon
crispy fried curry leaves
Heat the oil or ghee and saute the onion, garlic and cumin for 2 – 3 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the preserved lemon or lime and stir for a minute or so more.
Add the tomato paste, cooked lentils and stock, and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the coriander leaves and black pepper. Season with salt to taste. Serve and top with the garnish.