Ever since I got out of high school and started learning what to cook for myself, I have always loved this dish.
Spicy Red Lentil Vegetable Soup is a perfect warming meal in these cold autumn months.
While there are many kinds of lentils, red lentils, or Masoor Dal as you would see in indian grocers, are my favorite lentils. Split Pigeon Peas, or Toor Dal, comes in at a close second. Both of these lentils, when fully cooked will lose their shape and become a creamy mush, essential for a hearty soup base.
This soup is packed with protein, iron & and cholesterol-lowering fiber from the lentils. Shiitake mushrooms are something I add, usually around the change of season and cold weather for their immune-boosting properties.
The best part about red lentil soup is the flavor! Most families that cook this regularly have their own spice combination. I mix mine according to my liking. Sambar, spicy lentil soup, powder is also a very good spice mixture containing nice flavors, however asafoetida is a main ingredient which has wheat in it. Only one company I have seen uses a gluten-free asafoetida for their spice mixes.
Spicy Red Lentil Vegetable Soup
1 – 1/2 cup red lentils
1 – 1/2 cup water, to soak
3 cup water, to boil
3/4 cup tomatoes, diced
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp garlic ginger paste
2 tsp pink salt
1 tsp ghee or coconut oil, to mix
1 tsp ghee or coconut oil, to sauté
1/4 cup shiitake
1/2 cup green beans or additional vegetables of your choice
1) Rinse red lentils and drain all water. Then add equal amount of water to lentils and let sit for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils have doubles in size. Soaking is an easy prep method that quickens boil time.
2) Add diced tomatoes, oil and all the spices to separate bowl. Mash together.
3) Add the doubled lentils (about 3 cups) to equal amount of water (3 cups). Put lid on and boil on medium-high for 8-10 minutes. Skim the white foam from the top off and discard. Remove from flame.
4) In large wok, or separate pot, add a teaspoon oil of your choice. Add the tomato/spice mix and let cook, stirring continually to not let burn.
5) Add the cooked lentils to the tomato spice sauce. Stir in together.
6) Stir in your choice of vegetables. I added dried shiitake mushrooms, green beans frozen from the garden and fresh green onions from the yard. Other good choices are peas, carrots, corn and kale.
7) Cover and let simmer on low heat to cook the vegetables through.