Coconut Lentil Soup





This is a quick and delicious alternative to the more common dal, or Indian lentil soups. A key difference is the use of coconut milk, as part of the "stock". You can go wild, recipeless style, on this soup. For example, the flavour of the stock can be vegetarian, if you prefer instead of chicken. Or, you can forego the stock altogether, as the coconut milk adds some flavour of its own. Be careful not to bring the soup to full boil, and to simmer it gently after that, to help preseve that delicate flavour. This goes for most soups, actually.

You can also change the spices, depending on what you have on hand, or favour. I had some Rasam powder (a fragrant red curry powder).  So I used that, as a change from curry powder (which itself, is optional in this soup!). Rasam spice mix powder is used to make Rasam, a South Indian soup that typically uses tamarind, and may feature lentils or vegetables. Whatever you choose to spice the soup, make sure you aren't adding more spiciness than you can tolerate. This can easily happen if you're using a prepared curry powder you are not familiar with (Of course, if  you find you've made it too spicy, do not add any black pepper!).


Ingredients

1 large onion, finely chopped
red chili pepper or similar, finely minced (I used dried bell peppers); to taste
piece of peeled ginger, coarsely chopped
2 cl garlic
1 cup red lentils, washed and rinsed
1 can coconut milk
3 cups water
1 tsp chicken bouillon
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp curry powder (I used "Rasam" type curry powder, "MTR" brand)
salt and pepper, to taste
juice of 1 lemon
1 T vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add onion, garlic, ginger. Cover and heat on slow med. heat, until soft, but not browned. Add the lentils, peppers and spices. Mix. Add coconut milk, water, chicken bouillon. Bring to boil, simmer for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are very soft and mushy. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Garnish with fresh coriander, if desired.

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