I love the combination of flavors in this unusual soup. The red lentils partially dissolve while cooking, creating a creamy texture and the coconut milk creates an intriguing, almost nutty note. Serve as a starter or add an Indian bread and salad for a delicious light meal.
Yield: Serves 8 to 10 as a starter or 4 to 6 as a main course
2 cups (500 ml) red lentils
1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 large carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp (10 ml) turmeric
2 tsp (10 ml) cumin seeds (see Notes)
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
½ tsp (2 ml) cracked black peppercorns
1 can (28 oz/796 ml) tomatoes, including juice
6 cups (1.5 L) vegetable stock
1 can (14 oz/398 ml) coconut milk
1 tbsp (15 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 long red chili pepper or 2 Thai chilies, finely chopped (see Notes)
Thin slices lemon (optional)
Finely chopped cilantro (optional)
1. In a colander, rinse lentils thoroughly under cold running water. Set aside.
2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, turmeric, cumin seeds, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil, breaking up with the back of a spoon. Stir in reserved lentils and stock.
3. Transfer mixture to slow cooker stoneware. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours, until carrots are tender and mixture is bubbling. Stir in coconut milk, lemon juice and chili pepper and cook on High for 20 to 30 minutes, until heated through.
4. When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and top with lemon slices and cilantro, if using.
If you don’t have fresh chili peppers, stir in your favorite hot pepper sauce, to taste, just before serving.
For an enhanced cumin flavor, toast the cumin seeds and coarsely crush before using in this recipe.
Make ahead: This soup can be partially prepared the night before it is cooked. Complete Steps 1 and 2. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, continue cooking as directed in Step 3.