See now this is a prefect example of how easy it is to be creative in your kitchen and use what you have.
This all started when I was looking at the online flyer from my local grocery store and saw that they have something called “Tandoori red lentil soup” on sale this week their “home meal replacement” department.
I thought to myself ” hmmm…..now that sounds good, bet I could make some of that!”
So I punched that title into our friend Google and a whole bunch of recipes appeared. I looked at a few and some seemed more complicated than others and so I went through the ingredient lists to see if I could get away with making any of them without having to go to the store!
This is what I came up with.
I started by taking out the trusty dutch oven and over medium heat drizzled in a bit of olive oil.
Then I added:
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 1 medium onion finely diced
- 4 cloves of garlic finely minced
- about an inch of fresh ginger finely chopped
- 1 large handful of fresh parsley finely chopped ( cilantro would be MUCH better here but I was without!)
- about a cup of finely chopped baby spinach ( it was on it’s last legs in the fridge so in it went!)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
I let those cook a bit and get to know each other.
Then I added :
- 1/2 cup rinsed red lentils
Stir those in and make sure they are well coated.
Then in a small bowl I combined:
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander seed
- 1 tsp crushed chili flakes
- 1 tsp paprika
- zest of two lemons ( keep lemons for juice later)
- a few grinds of black pepper
Make a hole in the vegetables at the bottom of the dutch oven to expose the cooking surface and pour in the spice mixture. Stir it around a little to “toast” it which will release the flavours.
Then mix everything in together.
- 1 tin crushed tomatoes ( feel free to use fresh but I didn’t have any)
- 1 tin coconut milk
- 1 small tin tomato paste
Now you could stop here and have a lovely vegan item, just put on some rice and you are in business.
You could also add a tin of say chick peas or the like if you were so inclined.
But I can only feed the Chef vegan items so many times a week so I also added a couple of chunked up raw chicken breasts. Cooked would be fine too.
Stir it all up, put on the lid and let’er simmer till the chicken and lentils are good and cooked. Red lentils pretty much just disintegrate into a nice thick sauce so no need for any thickening agents.
But I know what you are thinking. “This doesn’t sound like soup!”
You’re right. I mean, it COULD be soup if you wanted to add a bunch more liquid and thin it out, but we are eating it on rice for more of a “something I found on the Indian buffet” type item.
Add the juice from the two lemons just before you are ready to go to the plate. It will balance the flavour and give you a shot of vitamin C to boot!
I of course added a little steamed kale on the side, cause I’m crazy that way!
And there you have yourself a hearty, tasty, week night, comfort dish!
And I didn’t even have to go to the store!!