RED LENTIL SOUP WITH SPICED OIL

RED LENTIL SOUP WITH SPICED OIL (for six)

 Soups, bean, red lentil soup with spiced oil and pappadams 1  Soups, bean, red lentil soup with spiced oil and pappadams 2

For the soup:

1 cup red lentils (available at natural foods stores, East Indian markets and some supermarkets), picked over

2 onions, chopped

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

5 garlic cloves, minced

4 teaspoons grated, peeled, fresh gingerroot

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup drained, canned tomatoes

For the spiced oil:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1-½ tablespoons minced seeded fresh red chili, or ¼ teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon cumin seed

¼ teaspoon turmeric

fresh coriander sprigs for garnish

Pappadams as an accompaniment


1. Make the soup. In a large bowl wash the lentils in several changes of cold water until the water runs clear and drain them in a fine sieve.

2. In a large, heavy saucepan cook the onions in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until they are softened, add the garlic and the gingerroot, and cook the mixture, stirring, 1 minute. Add the cumin and the ground coriander seeds and cook the mixture over moderately low heat, stirring, 1 minute. Add the lentils, the broth, 1-½ cups water and the tomatoes and simmer the mixture, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. In a blender or food processor puree the mixture in batches, transferring it to a bowl as it is pureed, then return the soup to the pan, cleaned, and season it with salt and pepper. (The soup can be made 3 days in advance and kept covered and chilled. Reheat the soup and thin it, if necessary, with water.)

3. Make the spiced oil. In a small skillet or saucepan heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking, add the chili, the cumin seed and the turmeric, and fry the spices, stirring, for 10 to 15 seconds, or until the sizzling begins to subside. Remove the skillet from the heat.

4. Heat the soup over moderate heat, stirring, until it is hot and ladle it into bowls. Drizzle the spiced oil with a spoon over the soup, garnish each serving with a coriander sprig and serve the soup with the pappadams.

from The Best of Gourmet, 1992

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