This is a modification of a soup recipe I learned in a vegan cooking class. I've tinkered with it quite a bit over the years, and it's quite different from the original now. It can be made as a curry or a soup, depending on the amount of liquid used. When I make it as a curry, I often double this recipe and serve it over India Spiced Rice With Pumpkin Seeds. Use onion if you can't find fennel, or to ramp up the spiciness. To prepare fennel bulbs, cut off stalks and strip outer layer off bulb before chopping. Freezes well.
- 1⁄2 cup lentils
- 2 cups water
- 2⁄3 cup water (for soup version only)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pinch asafetida powder (hing)
- 1⁄3 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1⁄3 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1⁄3 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1⁄4 teaspoon mild cinnamon
- 2 dried hot peppers
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup fennel bulbs, chopped fine or 1 small white onion, chopped
- 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded and minced fine
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped or 4 teaspoons dried cilantro
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar or 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut, shredded
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon coriander
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- In a large saucepan, simmer lentils in 2 cups water for 30 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat.
- Combine lentils and their cooking liquid with turmeric & salt in a blender or food processor. Blitz 10-15 seconds or until fairly smooth. Return to saucepan.
- Add cilantro, coconut, brown sugar, cumin powder, coriander, cayenne, , cinnamon and garam masala. Stir well. Cover and set aside.
- In a large frying pan or skillet, heat the oil.
- Add hing, seed mixture and hot red peppers. Sauté until the seeds begin to pop. This will only take a few seconds!
- Add the fennel, garlic and jalapeño, sauté until halfway to soft. Add tomatoes, continue sautéing until fennel is soft and tomatoes are hot and beginning to lose their shape. Remove from heat.
- Add fennel/tomato mixture to lentil mixture in saucepan. Stir well. For soup, add the extra 2/3 cup water. Cover and cook on low heat 15 minutes. Remove hot red peppers before serving.
I've made this dish twice and I've been very satisfied with the results. Tonight I used red lentils instead of the typical brown variety which I highly recommend. Red lentils breakdown more quickly and will allow you to skip the blender step. I also far prefer to use fresh cilantro in S. Asian dishes.
My husband and I both thought this was ok. I made several changes: garlic powder for hing, onion for the fennel bulb, omitted all the seeds and dried peppers as I didn't have them on hand, used sweetened coconut instead of unsweetened and halved the amount of cayenne. It still had a hint of spiciness (enough that my kids wouldn't eat it). I'm sure that we would have enjoyed this more if I had been able to follow the recipe more closely.