This soup is great for when you’re feeling orange, it’s a good way to get rid of extra tomato sauce, and it’s a really tasty accompaniment for that sriracha (rooster) sauce that we all love. It’s super thick so you can eat it as a stew or as a Dhal-like meal over a bed of rice.
Sometimes I make this as part of a simple at-home Indian meal. If I do I’ll also make a quick alloo pea dish by following these easy directions (alloo matar, potatoes and green peas.)
Like all great stews, this one takes about an hour to prepare and cook, mostly untended. I’ve found 40 minutes of final simmering time about does the trick, but be sure to check on it during the last ten minutes or so, I’ve burned my fair share of lentils making this! (If you do burn the bottom a bit, just pour the soup out into another pot or container.)
A couple glugs of oil, 2 onions, many cloves of garlic, 2tsp cumin, 2tsp curry powder (or garam masala), 1tsp turmeric, 1tsp paprika, salt and pepper, leftover tomato sauce (or a can of tomatoes or a couple of fresh tomatoes), 2 cups red lentils, sweet potatoes, carrots, water and a bullion cube.
Add a couple of glugs of oil, whatever you are currently cooking with to a pot and chop and add the onions.
While the onions sizzle for a few minutes and soften, start peeling and chopping your garlic. How many cloves you add is entirely up to you, but this soup likes a lot of garlic. Also, it’s good for you.
Once the onions are soft and even a bit browned, after five minutes or so, add the roughly chopped garlic. This is a good time to get your leftover tomato sauce ready, just add whatever you’ve got, or 1-2 cups. If you don’t have tomato sauce just use canned or fresh tomatoes. This soup is amenable to change. The tomatoes will be added after the spices so just keep it handy for now.
Now collect your pretty spices and dump them in, stirring to avoid burning. The idea is to cook the spices for one minute but I usually cook the spices until I have found all of the spices. Remember it’s 2 teaspoons each of curry powder and cumin, plus 1 teaspoon each of turmeric and paprika, then a couple dashes of salt and pepper.
Quick before you burn the spices, dump in the tomato sauce! Great!
At this point you can sit down for a minute, the tomato and the spices will have to cook for 5-10 minutes, so get your soup to a simmer by turning it up until it boils and then turning it back to a nice medium-low bubble. Now take a break.
Maybe watch this video of a little octopus climbing over a rock:
Relaxed? Great,n ow come back and add the rest of the ingredients. Sort and rinse your two cups of red lentils, and chop your sweet potatoes and carrots, however many you want. Feel free to add more orange or non-orange vegetables at this point.
When everything has been added, pour in as much water as will comfortably fit in the pot without overfilling and then toss in a bullion cube (optional.) Bring the whole thing back to a boil, and then lower heat to a companionable simmer and just leave it alone for about 40 minutes.
After the lentils and vegetables are soft it’s ready to go, use a hand-blender to get it to a nice even consistency, or don’t, whatever. But do add a swirl of rooster sauce on top and consider serving on a bed of rice or quinoa.
This recipe has been slightly adapted from The Hairpin’s Red Lentil and Sriracha soup. (Mainly by adding more orange.)
Veggies: 1-2 onions, Carrots, sweet potatoes, plenty of garlic
Spices: 2tsp cumin, 2tsp curry, 1tsp turmeric, 1tsp paprika, salt + pepper
and: Oil, 2 cups lentils, tomato sauce, or fresh tomatoes, or canned tomatoes
Fry the chopped onions in some oil until they are soft and slightly browned, 5 minutes.
Stir in chopped garlic and spices.
Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil, simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Add rinsed lentils, peeled and chopped sweet potatoes, and chopped carrots. Reasonably fill pot with water and toss in a bullion cube.
Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 40 minutes. Stir frequently towards the end of the cooking time, this soup tends to burn at the bottom.
Mash soup with a hand blender and feel free to serve over quinoa or rice, as though it wasn’t a soup at all.