Red Lentil Soup with Cardamom and Coconut Milk

For this week’s soup of the week, I made an Indian red lentil soup. The cardamom infused broth and coconut milk combine with red lentils to create a hearty, complex flavor — and it’s healthy too. This recipe is easy since you don’t have to soak or cook the lentils in advance; rather, they cook in the broth and are then pureed with a hand blender (a regular blender or food processor would work too — it’d just be a little messier).

You essentially add aromatics and spices to a large pot or dutch oven with enough water or vegetable stock to cover and then cook until the lentils are soft but not dissolved. Remove the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick, then puree, add coconut milk and lime juice and you’re done. Garnish with more coconut milk and cumin seeds.   

Red Lentil Soup with Cardamom and Coconut Milk

2 small onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped
1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes or 4 tomatoes roughly chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cumin
6 cardamom pods
1 small cinnamon stick (or half a large one)
1 1/3 cups dried red lentils
3 3/4 cups water or vegetable stock
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 tablespoon lime juice (about half a lime) 
salt and pepper 
cumin seeds

1.  Put the onions, garlic, tomatoes, tumeric, ground cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, lentils, and water or vegetable stock in a large pot or dutch oven. Bring to boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft but not dissolved.

2.  Remove the cardamom pods and the cinnamon stick. Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor or with a hand blender. If you removed the mixture to blend it, return it to a rinsed pot.

3.  Reserve a little coconut milk for garnish and add the rest to the pot. Add the lime juice.  Stir and season with salt and pepper.

4.  Reheat the soup slowly without boiling it. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the reserved coconut milk and the cumin seeds.

Total time: 30-40 min

Makes about 6 servings

Modified from a recipe in The Soup Bible

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