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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Dahl Rasam or Spicy Lentil Soup

I was inspired by a soup I had in India called Rasam This is a thin watery soup consumed as a digestion aid with a tamarind juice base. Not really what we know as soup. It is a southern Indian dish and is often made with tomato juice as well. Pepper is always included as tomatoes and peppers are abundant in southern India.
However when lentils are added it becomes Dahl Rasam richer and thicker. It was delicious.
Ottolenghi and Claudia Roden also have a version of Lentil Soup.
So with all that inspiration and a cold day I set about making my version. Don't worry if you don't like lentils this will amaze you. Most people don't believe it is lentils once the coconut milk is added.
I am sure Indians would not approve, but as we like to do in this country tweak a recipe to our taste.
If you don't have curry paste you can use red chillies

2 onions chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/1/2 tablespoons red curry paste ( I used Thai curry Paste )
1 tablespoon cumin
2 lemongrass stalks bashed slightly to real ease flavour
good pinch of turmeric
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
4 tablespoons lime juice
4 tablespoons sugar
500 grams red lentils
400 mls coconut milk

Chop the onions and garlic and cook in a large pot with some canola or sunflower oil.  Cook on a low heat until the onion and garlic are very soft. Be careful not to burn it. Add the curry paste and cook for a further minute until very fragrant, stirring with the onion mix.

Add the lentils, lemongrass, ginger, mustard seeds to the pot with 1300 ml water.
Bring to the boil and turn down to a gentle simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft .
When cooled remove lemongrass stalks and puree with a hand held bamix or pour into a blender.
Return to the stove and add  the coconut milk with cumin, turmeric, lime juice and sugar . Add  approx 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir all through whilst heating.

If you would like a thicker soup add less coconut milk. If would like it hotter add more chilli.
I serve it garnished with chopped tomato and coriander and a swish of extra chilli sauce in the form of Sriracha Sauce. You can use you favourite chilli sauce, but this comes in a squeeze bottle and has a thin consistency. Enjoy !

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