Lentils are the hype and is a really good source of complex carbs, proteins and trace nutrients if you are trying to add more plant-based foods into your diet. Eating more plant-based foods is evidently good for preventing those not so good blood glucose spikes and keep the cravings at curb. Lentils will also make flavorful soup and curry base and carry array of other vegetables into next level. It also tastes divine with coconut cream and spices like cinnamon, cardamom. But mostly I like it because it was and is my favorite food growing up. Yellow lentil curry and rice with ensemble of three or more curries that my mom makes is always a dream meal for me. And my kids are following the suite when it comes to lentil curry.
Having said that with two young kids and homeschool routines making my dream meal or getting them to eat it is not always an easy thing. So, what does this mom do? she combines her two favorite curries and elevate it into a nutritious soup that everyone in my family will not say no to. And she is hoping you will like it too.
So, what you will need to make this soup.
1 tablespoon refined or virgin coconut oil, or a neutral-flavored oil
1 red onion sliced or few shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated
Sprig of curry leaves
1 green bell pepper or if you like spicier version green hot chili pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder or Spanish Paprika
Half an inch piece of cinnamon
1 cardamom pod
Kosher salt or sea salt to taste
1 cup (180-190g) red lentils, or split red lentils
1 cup of cubed butternut squash
2 cups (480 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
Cup of thick creamy coconut milk
Some fried curry leaves
1/2 a small lemon, juiced
Tablespoon of yogurt or dollop of butter
Sri Lankan black curry powder (optional)
Rinse the lentils.
Heat a stock pot over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add onions and let it caramelize on the edges. Then add chopped ginger, garlic, green chili and curry leaves and sauté for few seconds until fragrant, stirring frequently to prevent garlic from burning. Then add butternut squash. Cook for few more seconds turning gently.
Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, paprika, and salt give it a gentle mix and add lentils and vegetable stock. Add in cinnamon and cardamom pod. Cover and simmer until everything is cooked and lentils become soft. Lentils will absorb lots of the stock and if you find if you do not have enough liquid add little more water or stock. We are aiming for a thick creamy soup base not a runny one.
Then remove the lid and stir in the coconut milk and heat it tough. Give it a taste test and adjust the salt. Finally, stir in the lemon juice and turn off the heat. Sprinkle a pinch of Sri Lankan black curry powder and some fried curry leaves on top. (totally optional, if you do not have this in hand soup will still taste great without them).
Soup is ready to serve!
Present it warm with dollop of butter or yogurt on top with a bowl of rice or crusty French baguette and a fresh salad on the side. I hope you like it.
If you like a creamy soup instead of chunky side, please blend everything up with little bit warm vegetable broth (only in case the soup is too thick to blend) with a stick blender or regular blender.
This will also be good with flatbread.
If you would like to skip using coconut milk, please use just vegetable broth and use little bit of Nonfat Greek yogurt at the end. Coconut does give this a signature flavor. It is going to be different If you skip it but still a great soup. Other alternatives to coconut cream I can think of might be unroasted peanut or almond paste. If you happen to use them, please comment below and let me know how it turns out! I would love to give it a go.
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