Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Spicy and Aromatic Red Lentil Soup

I've been trying to build up my soup repertoire recently, which may seem an odd thing to do in the summer but this red lentil soup has zingy flavours that go well with sunny weather. Since being pregnant my digestive system isn't always up to a heavy curry but this is a spicy and lighter option, which I'm enjoying.

I used to think red lentils were a rather boring ingredient but they are so satisfying in this and they are a great source of protein, iron and fibre! The creamed coconut aside, this is a really healthy recipe. Coconut oil is one of my favourite ingredients. Although it's expensive you only have to use a tiny bit of it. However, you know the waxy looking stuff at the top of creamed coconut? That's coconut oil. In this recipe I use this to sweat the vegetables (and if I didn't I'd be saving it to roast some cashew nuts or for making popcorn). Inhale, and enjoy the smell of exotic holidays!

Aromatic, Spicy Red Lentil Soup
(Serves 4 with leftovers)

3 leeks, finely sliced
4 large carrots, chopped
2 inches fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 red and one green chilli, finely chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, bruised then finely chopped
2 fat garlic cloves
generous pinch of rock salt
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 cups red lentils
1 1/2 litres stock
4 oz creamed coconut
Salt and pepper to season

Quartered cherry tomatoes
Fresh Coriander
Toasted flaked almonds

Sweat the leeks and carrots in either the coconut oil from the creamed coconut packet or a little olive oil. While you are doing this roast the cumin, fennel and coriander seeds in a pan and grind in a pestle and mortar with the garlic and rock salt. Add to the vegetables with the chillies, ginger and lemon grass. Sweat for a couple of minutes and add the lentils and the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer with the pot covered for 20-30 minutes until the lentils are cooked. Add more stock or hot water is the soup becomes too thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the creamed coconut. Serve garnished with a few cherry tomato quarters, fresh coriander leaves and toasted flaked almonds.

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