I tried a couple more Indian recipes last week to find some more good ones. This soup is a definite winner. I can’t remember having something exactly like it before–it turns out a pretty orange color, the lentils are pretty muted, and the flavor is great. It’s also vegetarian, though you can add 1 1/2 lbs. of chicken breast with the vegetables (remove before blending, cube it, then add it back to the soup after blending) or 2 lbs. of cubed leg of lamb with the lentils, if you’d like. This recipe comes from The Best International Recipe book from America’s Test Kitchen.
1 1/2 t. garam masala (McCormick is a good brand)
1 1/2 t. ground cumin
1 1/2 t. ground coriander
1 t. ground turmeric
3 T. unsalted butter
2 medium onions, minced
1/2 c. sweetend shredded or flaked coconut
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
4 t. grated or minced fresh ginger (doing this on a box grater works well)
1 t. tomato paste
1/4 c. flour
7 c. low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth, if you prefer)
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1/2 c. brown or green lentils (not red!)
2 T. cilantro, minced
Plain yogurt, for serving
1. Combine spices in a small bowl and set aside. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the spices and saute until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the onions and coconut and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. Sitr in garlic, ginger, and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in the flour until combined, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth.
2. Stir in the carrots and celery, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 20-25 minutes.
3. Puree the soup in a blender in batches until smooth and return to a clean pot. Add the lentils and return to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with cilantro and a dollop of yogurt. Soup can be stored for up to 3 days in an airtight container.