Carrot and Red Lentil Soup with a Hint of Cumin

by Meeta Wolff

This chapter is a free excerpt from What's For Lunch, Honey?.

In previous chapters, I’ve confessed my love of vibrant colors in fruits and veggies, but there is nothing quite as lovely as the variety of autumn vegetables: beets, turnips, cabbage, root vegetables. It’s an amazing, juicy rainbow of foods that not only look great, but are great for you.

It should therefore be no surprise that I once drooled over a beautiful box of bright orange carrots, and desperately began craving a thick, hearty soup. Automatically I reached for Indian flavors, adding some red lentils and a good sprinkle of black cumin seeds. I tend to do this when I am feeling down. Somehow the flavors of “home” make me feel a little better.

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In previous chapters, I’ve confessed my love of vibrant colors in fruits and veggies, but there is nothing quite as lovely as the variety of autumn vegetables: beets, turnips, cabbage, root vegetables. It’s an amazing, juicy rainbow of foods that not only look great, but are great for you.

It should therefore be no surprise that I once drooled over a beautiful box of bright orange carrots, and desperately began craving a thick, hearty soup. Automatically I reached for Indian flavors, adding some red lentils and a good sprinkle of black cumin seeds. I tend to do this when I am feeling down. Somehow the flavors of “home” make me feel a little better.

The red lentils, or “masoor dal” in India, are one of my favorites types of lentils. I like that they are very versatile and are cooked very quickly. I call it a “no fuss” dal, as it can be paired with several different ingredients and plays off the flavors perfectly. For Tom and Soeren, I added a little handful of crispy fried bacon. The sweetness of the carrots comes through quite distinctively, but the nuttiness of the lentils balances it out to make this soup just perfect for a cold fall day when the energy levels are low.

Method:

  1. In a non-stick frying pan, dry roast the cumin seeds until they begin to pop in the pan—approximately 1-2 minutes. Remove about 1 tablespoon and set aside.
  1. In a large pot heat up the glug of peanut oil and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the cumin seeds and chili flakes, then add the carrots and lentils.
  1. Finally, add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 15 minutes. The lentils should be soft and swollen.
  1. Remove from heat and add the cream, then whip the soup with a hand-held purée machine (or mix in a blender) until smooth. Place back on the heat and allow the soup to heat through again, but do not let it boil.
  1. Season to taste and serve with a sprinkling of coriander leaves and the remaining roasted cumin seeds.

Helpful Notes:

  • Serve the soup with a dollop of fresh natural yogurt and some naan bread.
  • The soup is fairly thick, but if you prefer it thinner just add some more vegetable stock. Make sure that you taste it before you season it, though, as the stock can be fairly salty.
Lydia
I just made your soup tonight and it's delish! I served it with lamb chops, mashed potatoes, peas and salad. Nice big family dinner.

Thanks!
JANUARY 15, 2010 11:03:00 PM GMT+01:00
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