Is it not funny how some ingredients you eat time and time again but never actually cook. This has always been the case with lentils, but boy can i eat them, but never have i cooked them -that is until now! I am not ashamed to admit that i have nearly purchased on many occasions but shy away, probably through fear of a kitchen disaster. So i found myself with a 500g packet of red split lentils, a handful of ideas - but the last of the weeks shopping. Not a problem as i have always prided myself on the ability to make good use of leftovers and sparse ingredients!
250g red split lentils (washed and drained)
6 medium carrots (roughly chopped)
3 tbsp of olive oil
1 large onion (sliced)
1 litre of good chicken stock or veg stock
1 tbsp of tomato puree plus 1 teaspoon
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
2 cm piece of fresh ginger (finely chopped)
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp of cumin (freshly ground)
1 tsp of coriander (freshly ground)
10 black peppercorns (freshly ground)
1 tsp of turmeric
Heat a large enough pan with the olive oil, once hot add the onions,garlic and ginger and saute for 5 minutes (do not allow to burn). After 5 minutes add the spices and tomato puree - cook for 1 minute, add the carrots cook for a further minute then add the stock and lentils. Bring to the boil and allow to cook for 10 minutes, then turn down the heat and simmer for a further 35 minutes. You will more than likely have to top up with boiling water during simmering, how much depends on how thick you like your soup. Check for seasoning during cooking, but be aware of salt levels if not using homemade stock.
This is a very economical dish to make, and very healthy, you could cut back on the olive oil to 2 tbsp. You do not have to stop at just the soup. Various garnishes could be added on serving or just eat with Naan or flat bread. A small knob of unsalted butter in each dish is a welcome addition and some crisp fried onions could be added great texture.