Saturday, November 20, 2010

Red Lentil Soup with Mango Cream

I love Indian food and it’s kind of surprising how little of it I’ve made so far during Vegan MoFo. I make a lot of lentil soups of all kinds but red lentils are perhaps my favorite. It’s all a great week night soup because red lentils, also called masoor dal in Indian cooking, cook really quickly. This isn’t an authentic recipe and it kind of has one foot in the dal world and one foot in the soup world. You can make it without the mango cream, but I think it’s worth the extra time it takes (since you can make it while the soup simmers). You can use fresh or frozen mango. I found frozen mango puree recently at Trader Joe’s and it’s perfect in this. I get the fenugreek greens (also called methi greens) at my Indian grocer, who has them frozen. The bag contains individual cubes about the size of an ice cube. I generally use 1-2 cubes in soup or dal. This soup is also great with any flat bread. There are a lot of ingredients, but it does come together pretty quickly.

Red lentil soup with Mango Cream

1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 teaspoons of oil
2 teaspoons of kosher salt
2 inch piece of ginger, grated
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon coriander seed, ground
2 teaspoons of cumin seed, half ground, half left whole
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 teaspoon of kalanji seeds (also called nigella or black onions seeds)
2 teaspoons of black mustard seeds, half whole, half ground
2-4 dried red chiles ground (to taste)
1 ½ cups red lentils, well washed
6 curry leaves
1-2 red or green chiles
Chopped cilantro

1. Add the oil to a pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and salt and cook, stirring often, until they begin to brown a bit. About 5-8 minutes.
2. Add the tomato paste, grated ginger, and the spices (reserving the whole cumin seeds and mustard seeds).
3. Add the lentils and about 4-6 cups of water (depending how thick you like your soup). I add less water and add more as need throughout cooking, Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 20-30 minutes (checking now and then to see if it needs more liquid)
4. When the lentils are cooked and falling apart, heat a small pan over medium heat and add a little oil, or spray oil to it. Add the reserved cumin and mustard seeds, 1-2 whole chiles cut in half lengthwise, and the curry leaves. Cook until the mustard seeds start to pop. Add this to the soup and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped cilantro.
5. Ladle into bowls and add the mango cream (recipe follows)

Mango cream

½ cup of mango puree
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
Juice of one lime
2 oz. of silken tofu

Mix all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust balance if you think it needs it.

1 comment:

  1. That looks and sounds awesome and I'm loving the mango cream!