Saturday, June 20, 2009

Curried Coconut Lentil Soup

I grew up eating a lot of lentil soup. So much, in fact, I'm surprised this is my first foray into the homemade stuff. So when I saw a lonely bag of lentils at Cronig's today I thought, "How hard can it be?" This Curried Coconut version has an Indian flair (Maybe because I'm reading Shantaram?). Cardamom, cumin, and coconut give it a kick without being over-the-top. Just enough to make it interesting without banging out over the head with curry. This is not canned lentil soup.

If you've never bought cardamom pods, I am offering a money-back guarantee. Just the smell makes me happy, and those little pods really make a difference in the flavor. Cardamom are the green pods below. You can use them whole but the outer green shell stays hard and woody. I pop them open and use the little black seeds inside. So. Good.

This could be lunch or, with a hunk of crusty bread, dinner on a chilly June night. Bonus: you can freeze this in bulk containers and have lentil soup whenever you want!

1 red onion, diced
5 cloves garlic
3 large carrots, diced
Seeds from 4 cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 pound brown lentils
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon salt

1. In a large soup pot, saute the onion and carrot until they begin to soften - about 3 minutes.
2. Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, bay leaf, and garlic. Saute for just a minute, being careful not to let the garlic burn.
3. Rinse the lentils in a colander and add them to the pot.
4. Add enough water so that the lentils are covered by about 2 inches. Season with salt.
5. Cover the pot and simmer until the lentils are cooked through and soft, about 40 minutes.
6. Using an immersion or stand-up blender (carefully and in very small batches!), blend the soup to thicken. It should be fairly smooth but you want to keep some texture of the lentils and veggies.


  1. Sounds delicious. When do you add the shredded coconut?

  2. Same question, when do you add the shredded coconut?!?

  3. Thanks for the question guys - sorry to leave it out! I'd add it in step 2 but, as noted, being careful to toast it but not let it burn.

    Good luck and enjoy!


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