Indian Red Lentil Soup is an easy simmer of lentils, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, fresh ginger, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Meatless with water or vegetable broth, or “less-meat” with chicken broth, both good. What could be better on a cold day?
The trick to this dish is the squeeze of lemon or lime. Swirl in Indian coriander chutney for tangy heat and the knockout pale green and orange color combo. A swirl of yogurt is quite nice, too.
- 2 medium-large onions, chopped
- 2 medium ribs celery (include the leaves), chopped
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds or 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, optional
- 2 cups dried split red lentils or yellow split peas, rinsed
- 1 quart boxed chicken broth (or use vegetable broth or water)
- Salt, to taste
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- Fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice for each serving
- Garnish with lemon or lime slices, Indian coriander chutney, fresh chopped cilantro, green onion slices, fresh Serrano or jalapeno slices, and plain yogurt.
- Sauté the onions, carrots and celery in the oil in a large pot until the onions are limp and lightly browned. Stir in the garlic, ginger and cumin seeds. Cook a few minutes longer over medium heat. If using tomatoes, stir them in with the lentils or split peas, broth, and four cups of water.
- Simmer the soup until the lentils or split peas are soft and mushy 45 minutes to an hour (the split peas will take longer to cook than the lentils). Puree the soup with an immersion blender or leave the soup chunky.
- Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice to each serving. Serve with the garnishes.