It was the second day of Ramadhan and I was still craving soup, but was not inclined to spend hours making one.
I found a recipe for lentil soup that looked very easy on what is turning out to be one of my favorite blogs. You can find the original recipe for Arabic lentil soup on the Chef in disguise website (along with many easy and authentic Middle Eastern recipes).
I had tried making Arabic lentil soup previously using green lentils, but it looked more like dishwater and did not taste any better. This red lentil soup is nutritious, easy to make and has a creamy, rich flavor that is elevated with a sprinkling of parsley and grating of lemon zest, if you have it available.
Another adaptation includes 1/2 cup of chopped celery and 1/2 cup of chopped carrots added when sautéing the onions. A third included only carrots. For now I prefer the third version with the carrots and without the celery as I find the celery too overpowering a flavor. It may be that fasting has made my tastebuds ultra sensitive because today even the chili seemed spicier than before.
You may find that even the soup avoiders in your family will love this. When we made it in Cape Town this past Winter my family could not believe how easy it is to make and how quickly it was ready. The longest part of the recipe is the soaking time of the lentils!
- 1 cup red lentils
- 60 ml olive oil, divided
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, grated
- 15 ml flour
- 4 cups water or stock (I used half vegetable stock and half water)
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper
- Rinse the lentils twice then soak for at least 2 hours.
- Heat 30 ml of olive oil in a soup pot and sauté the onions until soft.
- Add the flour and cook for 1 minute before adding the drained lentils, garlic and chili flakes.
- Add the stock or water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
- Blend the soup until creamy and completely smooth. I used a stick blender.
- Add the remaining 30 ml oil and blend until incorporated.
- Adjust the thickness with more hot stock or water, if required.
- Check the seasoning and add salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and lemon zest and a wedge lemon.