Dal (lentil) soup is popular in Indian cuisine. With this knowledge and a free Saturday morning to use up some veggies in my fridge, I created my own version of masoor dal (red lentil) soup through lots of tasting. As with many impromptu recipes, most of the ingredients can be switched with what you have available: potatoes, peas, or cauliflower could substitute for the squash and carrots, and any type of lentils should be fine. Soup is one of the most forgiving dishes if you’re looking to experiment.
If you have access to an Indian market, you’ll quickly realize how inexpensive items such as lentils, spices, and rice are compared to larger grocery stores and health food stores (Waltham has the best-priced Indian markets I’ve found in the area). The lentils in this recipes were bought in a 4 lb bag for $4.
This recipe is for a huge batch of soup, so feel free to put some in the freezer.
You’ll notice there are a few notes about adding ingredients to taste: always taste as you go along (and this is a vegetarian soup so you can taste from the first minutes). You can usually add to soups toward the end and then continue to cook on a very low heat to blend flavors.
3 T olive oil
1 t cumin seeds
1 t turmeric
pinch of ground black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
1 acorn squash, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, chopped
2 cups lentils, sorted for stones & washed multiple times
½ t yellow curry powder (or more to taste)
1 cinnamon stick
3 stalks celery, cut in half
8 cups of water (more or less depending on how much broth you’d like)
3 generous pinches of salt (more or less to taste)
- In a large pot on low heat, warm the olive oil and then add cumin seeds, turmeric, and ground black pepper for about a minute. Add onion and saute until translucent.
- Add squash and carrots, stir, turn to medium heat, and cook for a few minutes.
- Add lentils, curry powder, cinnamon stick, and celery. Mix. Add water and salt to taste. Stir. Turn to high and bring to a boil. Taste, add salt/pepper/other spices as you feel necessary.
- Turn to low, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes until lentils are fully cooked.
- Remove celery and cinnamon. Serve.
January is a good soup month. You can find a great recipe for creamy pumpkin curry soup at Cooking Whims.
This week has been super busy at work, but I don’t want to forget to mention how I had a WONDERFUL time at the Boston Food Bloggers Launch Party last week. Rachel Blumenthal of Fork It Over, Boston organized the event at The Gallows in the South End and brought together over 150 Boston-area blogger for great food (including ice cream) and conversation. Great event!