Sunday, January 23, 2011

Curried Lentil Soup

There is a small cafe next door to the office where I work. After nearly six years of working there, I have to say that she makes good food, but some days I am tired of her offerings. She used to be a little more adventurous, but I feel like maybe she has fallen into a bit of a rut with her menu. She mainly offers home made soups (usually two different ones) and sandwiches, but also will do some burritos, wraps, pita pizzas, grilled cheese, denver sandwiches, etc. My favorite soup that she makes on a semi-regular basis is curried lentil and yam soup. It is nice and spicy and very flavorful. I don't know what she all puts in it, but I decided that I wanted to try and duplicate her recipe at home.

A while back I bought a bag of dried lentils to use when I attempted to make her soup. I decided that this weekend would be the time to try it. I decided to make a pot of soup to freeze in individual portions for easy lunches or suppers when needed. I looked online at quite a few recipes and decided to loosely follow this one, but made a few tweaks of my own.

I am having some for supper tonight, and I have to say it is delicious. I am usually one who likes to have some meat in my soup, or at a meal, and I don't even miss the lack of meat in this soup. Lentils are quite high in fibre and protein, so the soup is always quite filling. I just looked up the nutritional info for lentils online and I see that a cup of cooked lentils contains 16 grams of fibre, 18 grams of protein and 37% of your daily recommended intake of iron. Not a bad thing to add to a person's diet!

Here is my adaptaion of the recipe I linked to above:

Curried Lentil Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium sized onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
4 cups chicken broth (I used Epicure's chicken boullion with 4 cups of water, it is free of MSG and is really low in sodium, I highly recommend it!)
1 - 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 small yam, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups dry green lentils
2 kaffir lime leaves
lemongrass (I used the stuff from Epicure, about 6 little pieces)
1 tbsp red curry paste (It's not very spicy, so I also added about 1/2 tsp of chili flakes)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 cup coconut milk

Saute onion and celery in oil until translucent. Add ginger and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add chicken broth and tomatoes and bring a to a boil. Add lentils and yam. Add lime leaves, lemongrass, curry paste, cumin and coriander. Let simmer for 30 minutes or until yam and lentils are cooked. Stir in coconut milk and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Allow soup to cool somewhat, then scoop half of the soup into a blender and puree. Add back to the pot of soup to thicken the soup. Enjoy!

I think the only thing I would change, is that I would add some fresh cilantro maybe at the same time as the coconut milke, or maybe even puree it with the soup in the blender. I think that would add a really nice flavor. I have to say that this soup tastes a fair bit different than the stuff at the cafe, but I like the flavor and I will enjoy this soup until it is gone!

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