January 25th, 2009


Spiced Red Lentil Soup

The fragrant but subtle tones of the spices and herbs make this soup incredibly moreish. I love the natural vibrant orange red colour which is bright enough to make a dull winters day just a whole lot better. The magical ingredient that I have used in this recipe is the homemade tandoori paste. It’s very special to me, it’s incredibly versatile and has jazzed up many of my dishes in the past.

This Tandoori Paste recipe is über cool, natural and versatile. I normally make a large batch of the paste and freeze it in ice cube trays, once frozen pop the cubes out in to a freezer bag and use them as required. This way the fresh spices and herbs remain super pungent and you always have a magical natural ingredient to hand. This recipe is strong and you require only a small amount to give extra flavour and depth to your cooking. When you wish to use the paste defrost the frozen cubes and either mix the Tandoori paste with equal quantities of natural yoghurt to home made tandoori paste and use it as a marinade for fish or meat. The use and versatility is endless, stir a couple of cubes in to a home made curry or soup for extra depth of flavour or mix a bit in to couscous for an exciting and tasty salad.

A dash of coconut milk tones the sharpness of the chillies to the right level of spiciness. The red lentil is a perfect and delicious thickener. The creamy texture of the cooked lentils adds to the rich and silky texture of the soup.

Home Made Tandoori Paste

  • 80g fresh coriander
  • 100g fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 lemons, zest grated and juiced
  • 50g cumin seeds
  • 50g mild paprika
  • 4 fresh large red chillies, de-seeded
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 250g tomato puree
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Wash the coriander, peel the ginger and garlic. Gently toast the cumin seeds in a hot pan, cool the toased cumin seeds before using.

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until a smooth paste.

If you are not using the paste immediately spoon the paste in a clean ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen remove the ice cubes and place them in a freezer bag until needed.

As this paste is a strong concentrate you do not need a lot of it. If you want to marinade chicken, meat or fish mix equal quantities of the paste with natural yoghurt, mix well and spread submerge the protein in the marinade, leave for a minimum of 6 hours before use. I normally let the protein marinade over night to ensure penetration.

Makes a large quantity more than required for the soup, freeze the rest.

Spiced Red Lentil Soup

  • 80g home made tandoori paste
  • 50g tomato puree
  • 50g sunflower oil
  • 400g tinned diced tomatoes
  • 250g coconut milk
  • 150g dried red lentils
  • 200g carrots, peeled and 10mm diced
  • 200g celery, 10mm diced
  • 200g banana shallots 10mm diced
  • 1 large red chilli de-seeded and sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 600ml vegetable or white chicken stock

Heat a large saucepan with the oil to a medium temperature.

Sauté the diced carrots, shallots and celery with a little bit of seasoning. Always remember to season, especially soups,a bit at a time, as during the  cooking  and reduction processes the flavours becomes stronger and it’s easy to over season. Cook until the vegetables become transparent but not coloured.

Add the sliced red chilli, tandoori paste and tomato puree, cook for 3 minutes, add the dried red lentils and stir.

Add the tinned diced tomatoes and the stock, bring the soup to the boil, turn the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid.

Simmer the soup for 40 minutes over low heat.

Add the coconut milk, turn the heat to high, bring the soup back to the boil and cook for 10 minutes.

Use a ladle and scoop a third of the hot soup in to a food processor or a thermomix and puree until smooth, add this back to the soup and stir. By blending only a third of the soup, this will ensure that your soup has a silky thick and creamy texture with some whole bits of carrots and lentils.

Serve the soup garnished with extra virgin olive oil, cooked red lentils mixed with sliced spring onions and fresh basil.

Serve 6

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One Comment to “Spiced Red Lentil Soup”

  1. Biz says:

    I love the idea of this soup – if I try it, I’ll have to do the conversions to get the right amounts – but I love spicy anything and have been expanding my cuisines lately.

    Thanks for posting!

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