Red lentils soften up quickly when cooked, which makes them great for thickening soups. Tamarind paste has a sweet-sour flavor and can be found in Indian groceries or high-end supermarkets. Serves 6.
* 1 cup red lentils
* 1 tsp. salt
* 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
* 2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
* 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
* 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
* 1 15-oz. can light, unsweetened coconut milk
* 1 Tbs. tamarind concentrate or paste, optional
* 1 Tbs. ground coriander
* 1 tsp. ground cumin
* 1 tsp. turmeric powder
* 1 small jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and minced
* 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1. Combine lentils, salt and 5 cups water in large saucepan. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, 20 to 25 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Blend lentils with whisk for rustic texture, or purée in food processor for creamier feel.
2. Purée tomatoes and ginger in blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.
3. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook 30 seconds, or until just golden, stirring often. Add tomato mixture, coconut milk, tamarind if desired, coriander, cumin, turmeric and jalapeño. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in lentils, and simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.
Spicy Red Lentil Soup » Vegetarian Times Issue: October 1, 2006 p.60