Coconut Red Lentil Soup

I love coconut. I mean, really love it. It’s hard for me to keep bags of the sweetened, flaked kind in my pantry because I just want to eat it all in one sitting with a spoon. I even tried putting coconut milk in my coffee once, which was a bad idea and is, to this date, the only coconut experiment I’ve conducted that was really disgusting.

Anyway, I saw that 101 Cookbooks had posted this recipe last week. All I had to read was the title and I was in. Then I saw that it involved lentils and a few other ingredients I had in the fridge from my Greenling box (cilantro, green onions, and a carrot) and I knew I’d found a recipe to make over and over again.

It lived up to its promise. This soup is thick and rich, but still has a hint of brightness from the coconut milk, cilantro, and golden raisins. I used light coconut milk to make it a little healthier, but other than that this is the rare recipe I didn’t really fiddle with. You can skip the curry-toasting step to save time, and cook the lentils and split peas (both found in the bulk bins at Whole Foods) the night before for a meal you can just toss together and simmer. In the original recipe, serving the soup over brown rice is optional, but I highly recommend it because it adds a nice texture.

Coconut Red Lentil Soup (from 101 Cookbooks)

1 cup yellow split peas
1 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
7 cups water
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons butter or ghee
8 green onions (or green garlic, if you have some from last week’s box), thinly sliced
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
2 teaspoons salt
one handful cilantro, chopped
cooked brown rice, for serving (optional)

Rinse split peas and lentils well. Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1/4 of the ginger. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.

In the meantime, in a small dry skillet or saucepan over low heat, toast the curry powder until it is quite fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Keep an eye on it, because the powder can burn quickly. Set aside. Place the butter in a pan over medium heat, add half of the green onions, the remaining ginger, and raisins. Saute for two minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and saute for another minute or two more.

Add the toasted curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so. The texture should thicken up. Serve over brown rice, sprinkled with cilantro and the remaining green onions.

Serves 6.

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