A while ago a friend of mine gave me a recipe for red lentil soup. She once made me some, I thought it was amazing. Before that day, I had always been terrified of lentils.
Terrified of lentils?
One of the reasons is a trauma from ages ago. My dad once cooked this meal that involved both red lentils and marmite, and needless to say, it was not a success. Marmite was (and is) the stuff of my nightmares, and the lentils were guilty by association. I didn’t dare eat them for years. (This is a variation of the Garcia effect, about which I wrote some time ago.)
The other reason is that because I never ate lentils, I didn’t know what they were like, how they behaved when cooked, or how they interacted with other ingredients, and I was afraid to find out in case I messed it up. I can be really silly like that sometimes, but when I don’t know if something will turn out OK, I’m sometimes really reluctant to try it. I just don’t want to waste any food, I guess.
Anyway, back to the lentil soup. I had a careful shot at it one day, and it turned out to be really easy. I stuck to the recipe that first time, but now that red lentils and I are buddyroos, I can use whatever I happen to have in the house, and this soup is now a frequent panic-induced, I’ve-nothing-in-the-fridge-and-no-cash-for-food, store cupboard awesomeness to save my hungry butt from my lack of foresight in my food shopping business.
For about 2 litres of soup you will need:
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 3 tsp of ground cumin
- 1 or 2 dried chillis
- 2 tsp of harissa
- 3 tsp tomato purée
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 250 gr red lentils
- 75 gr rice
- 1,5 litres of vegetable stock
- some yoghurt and some fresh coriander, to serve (sorta optional)
If you choose not to serve the soup with yoghurt, it’s all vegan!
Chop up your onion and your garlic Fry them in some olive oil with the harissa, cumin, chillis. Then add the tomato purée and tinned tomatoes. Wash the lentils and the rice, add those too. Then add the stock. Leave the soup to simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes. You can keep it in the fridge for about a century (alright then, a good few days).
Best thing about this soup, ever: if you have some next, chuck it in a crying pan the next morning, then poach an egg in it like you might do with shak shuka. So tasty. The eggy goodness just blows my mind.