Lentil and Coconut Soup

It’s wet and grey in my nook of the world, and right now our bodies need comfort, warmth and nourishment. What a better way then to spice it up with a hearty, warming, fragrant and rich lentil and coconut soup. I was initially concerned that this would be too spicy for a child’s palate, but the soup is very mild, creamy, sweet and coconuty – and totally kid friendly.

Lentils are pulses from the legume family, sold dry. They are cheap to buy and extremely versatile to cook with. They are also high in fibre and protein, hence great to maintain blood sugar levels, as well as a good source of vitamin B.

Lentils come in different colour varieties depending on the country of origin. Green, Puy, Yellow, Split, Brown, Red- you can use any you have for this recipe.  I am using Red and Yellow because that is what I have in my kitchen cupboard.

(Makes 6 bowls of soup)

3 TBSP of coconut oil (or butter)
¾ cup yellow split peas
1½ cup red lentils
1 TSP fenugreek
1 TSP coriander seeds
1 TSP cumin seeds
5 cardamom pods
1 TSP of turmeric powder
1 TSP of curry powder
1 knob of ginger
1 onion
150 ml cream coconut
juice of 1 lime

It’s best to soak the lentils (and other pulses) overnight. The reason is that the process of soaking removes the challenge that some enzymes in pulses present to our digestion, hence increasing their nutritional value. If you are not soaking, just add 15mins of cooking time to the recipe below.

  1. Heat an iron pan or a skillet and toast the spices. When they start smelling fragrant transfer to a mortar and grind until you have a fine powder.
  2. Fry the onion in coconut oil with sliced up ginger until soft.  Add the freshly ground spices and continue to fry for another minute.
  3. Pour in the soaked lentils, add about a litre and a half of vegetable or chicken stock and cook for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are thoroughly cooked through. Add the coconut cream, simmer for another 5minutes and then blend. I like mine blended quite rough, so there is still a bit of bite, but kids might like it smooth.
  4. Garnish with yoghurt (for kids) and coriander and toasted mustard seeds for grown ups.

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