Monday, December 28, 2009

Middle Eastern lentil soup

Lentils play a huge role in my cooking. They are the old faithfuls in the pantry and provide a dependable go to especially when I am out of fresh veggies. Of all the lentils I really like the quick cooking brown and reds which don't need much soaking and cook to perfection in a pressure cooker in 15 mins. This is exactly what I did for this Middle Eastern inspired lentil soup.

The inspiration for this soup comes from one of my favourite lunch places, Neomonde Deli and Bakery. If you like Mediterranean food, I think you will really like this place. They have a great selection of delicious hot and cold dishes along with fresh baked pita bread which they make themselves. I am kind of a boring eater when it comes to places I really like, which means I get the same thing every single time I go there. So here I always get the rice, eggplant stew, tzatziki and fruit salad. The person behind the counter might as well start putting these items together in a plate when they see me walk in. But recently Neomonde introduced a lentil soup which I absolutely fell in love with so now I have a tough time about which one of my regular selections I can substitute it with.

A Syrian friend of mine who also makes an equally good lentil soup hinted it has lemon, garlic and cumin powder as the main flavors, so I kind of ran with those. Here is my take on this soup, which will be my fourth entry for the Recipe Marathon on One Hot Stove.

1/2 cup brown lentils
1/2 cup red lentils
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 small carrots, diced
1 tomato, chopped
1 and 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
juice of half a lemon

- Wash the lentils together and soak in water till ready to use.
- In a pressure cooker, heat a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add onions and garlic and saute for 3-4 mins.
- Add the diced carrots and salt and saute for another 2-3 mins.
- Add the tomatoes, paprika and cumin and mix well.
- After the tomatoes soften, add the lentils along with enough water to cover them.
- Put the pressure cooker lid on and cook for 10 mins or till lentils are completely cooked through.
- Blend half the soup and mix in with the rest.
- Serve hot with a liberal amount of lemon juice and some toasted pita bread.

Makes 4 servings.


  1. Same pinch- I made lentil soup too :)

    Your pictures are just gorgeous, I love the clean and minimalist look of your blog.

  2. lovely recipe Radhika! i am guessing the taste will be similar to dal makhni...sounds very healthy!

  3. Pics is just amazing, i too like to cook with saml lentils..

  4. Your soup looks great. I used to live near a Lebanese couple -- they made the most amazing dishes. I don't remember cumin but lemon and garlic, yes. Thanks for stirring up those memories :)

  5. yummy soup will this try soon,..

  6. Lentil soup looks so delicious & Comforting. I'm sure my son's going to love this.

  7. woo hoo!!! sounds and looks delicious and i was in need of a lovely soup for this wintery new england day!! can't wait to make it!!
    thanks for sharing.

  8. Soup would be so good on a cold, cold day
    like it is here today.I love adding lime juice instead of tomatoes for acidity.Makes the colors and flavours pop.

  9. Thanks everyone! Let me know how it turns out :)

  10. Soups are such are a blessing during these winter days! Gorgeous click!

  11. When a soup looks as gorgeous as this one does, there is only one thing possible. To clean up the bowl.

  12. Mona, indosungod, thanks! I love soups especially in winter.

  13. ooo i am always looking for new ways to make lentil soup. This looks excellent!

  14. Recipe sounds yummy!

    any names for the brown lentil ? will kala channa work?

  15. Hi Pavi, I have always used a combination of red and black masur which I have found works quite well.