A call was made to food bloggers and home chefs to get creative and submit a recipe, so I did – after I took inventory of my spice cupboard to see what I had in there. You probably have all these ingredients too. You probably bought them in 2003 when you tried making an Indian dish at home. And the dish you made was probably really good. But because we live in the world we do, you find it is just easier to order in from your favourite restaurant. There is nothing wrong with that.
But, if you are like me, periodically you want to draw on your inner Michael Smith and create something delicious. I don’t have an awesome pantry, or a Gabe, but I do have my own Michael Walsh that I try to please (placate) with food (so he doesn’t bat an eye when I buy another Coach bag).
So dig out those spices, buy yourself a bag of red lentils, and make yourself the easiest, tastiest spicy coconut lentil soup on the planet… North America…. Edmonton for sure!
What makes this easy? I use whole things. You will not buy a big can of diced tomatoes and use only 3/4 of it. You’ll dump in the whole thing.
Spicy Coconut Lentil Soup
What you need:
1- 450 g bag of red lentils
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large red onion, chopped
1 head garlic, peeled, chopped
1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped (use more if you like to sweat while you eat)
1 generous squeeze of grated ginger-in-a-tube (or if you have the patience, buy a knob of ginger and grate 1 tbsp – good luck – if you can do this with out cussing, I commend you)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric (TIP: do not EVER put turmeric in your coffee grinder. It will turn it yellow for life)
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1- 796 mL can of diced tomatoes
8-cups chicken broth (I use chicken bouillon and mix with boiling water)
1- 400 mL can of unsweetened coconut milk
1-lime, rind grated, juice squeezed. TIP: Squeeze AWAY from the eyes or wear safety glasses. Trust me. I speak from experience. Blink, tear, blink, tear, blink).
Here’s what you do:
Empty the bag of lentils in a sieve. Rinse under cold running water until you think the lentils are rinsed properly. I don’t know how long that really takes, but I know I enjoy sticking my fingers in the lentils while this happens. It’s my thing. Some things you can’t explain. So don’t ask.
In your large pot, put in the oil, add the chopped onion and cook over a medium heat until they are translucent.
Add your chopped garlic, the chopped serrano pepper(s), and all your spices.
TIP: If you want to pretend you have your own cooking show, it’s best to put all your spices in little glass dishes, and add one at a time. You can talk to the wall and describe what you are doing. OR, if you are bit short of time, put all the spices in one bowl, and dump in the pot.
TIP: If you live in an airless apartment, you may want to shut the doors to your bedrooms and closets about now so the lovely cooking smells don’t permeate your clothes for the next 2 months.
Add the can of dice tomatoes, and 8 cups of chicken broth.
Let this simmer for 25 minutes, and when the red lentils are soft, add (after vigorous shaking) the can of coconut milk.
Simmer a bit more. Then, if you have an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. This step isn’t necessary, but I’m trying to get value for my immersion blender, so I use it at every opportunity.
Serve in big bowls.
Afterwards, as you bask in the glow of hot serrano peppers, you can be satisfied knowing that the lentils you just ate are a very good source of potassium, protein, and fibre.