Lentil soup

I have been a very lazy cook for a while… Usually that involves the less healthy choices, since not thinking about what you will eat for diner the whole day and than shopping for groceries while you still don’t know what to eat while you are already hungry is just not a very good plan. But, today I decided to cook and eat something healthy, and it was very easy and tasty as well. So plans for the future: plan diner when not hungry, then shop with grocery list and only buy what’s on the list. See how long I can stick to this…
Then, the dish. I combined the many recipes (Arabic/Moroccan) I found online for lentil soup into something I liked. It is very important to use quite strong and spicy flavours, since lentils tend to be a bit bland. The spice mix I used succeeded in this, but was still very delicate.
I like my soups nice and smooth, so I blended everything after cooking and then sieved it, pushing every bit of moisture and taste from the sieve, but preventing all the tough bits to be in my soup. This step is not necessary, you can just blend everything, or even let it chunky or mush it a bit with a masher. To give the whole a bit texture, I added some cooked quinoa to the soup.
I also added some leftover chicken from yesterday, but leaving the soup vegetarian is a very good possibility (then switch the chicken stock cube for a vegetable stock cube). I also served some raita and naan (but mine came from the shop) with the soup. But just the soup and no add-ons works also perfect.

Lentil soup (2 big bowls)

1 cup yellow lentils (use a coffee mug if you don’t have cup measuring cups)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp nigella seeds
1/4 tsp ground coriander (ketoembar)
1/4 tsp kurkuma
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
3-4 cups vegetable stock (depending on the preferred consistency)
juice of half a lemon
fresh coriander (optional)

Rinse the lentils, then soak them. The longer you soak them, the more moisture they take up and the thinner your soup will be. I soaked my lentils for about an hour, since I did not have much time.
Slowly cook the onion, carrot and celery, until translucent. Add the ginger and garlic, cook for a bit more. Add the tomato, bay leaves, lentils and stock, bring to the boil. Meanwhile, roast the seeds in a dry frying pan and add them with the other spices to the soup. Cook the soup for about 30 minutes, till the lentils are tender. Blend (don’t forget to take out the bay leaves!), and if you want, sieve. Taste, add the lemon juice, salt if necessary and pepper/chilli powder if necessary. Garnish with fresh coriander (if using).

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