Spiced Red Lentil and Coconut Soup
Hot, spicy and richly flavored this substantial soup is almost a meal in itself. if you are really hungry, serve it with chunks of warmed naan bread or thick slices of toast.
30ml / 2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 red onions, finely chopped
1 bird’s eye chili, seeded and finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lemongrass stalk, outer layers
removed and inside finely sliced
200g / 7oz /scant 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
5ml / 1 tsp ground coriander
5ml / 1 tsp paprika
400ml / 14fl oz / 1 2/3 cups coconut milk
900ml / 1 1/2 pints /3 3/4 cups water
juice of 1 lime
3 spring onions (scallions), chopped
20g / 3/4oz /1/2 cup fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
salt and ground black pepper
1. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions, chili, garlic, and lemongrass. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions have softened but not browned, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the lentils and spices. Pour in the coconut milk and water, and stir. Bring to the boil, stir, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes or until the lentils are soft and mushy.
3. Stir in the lime juice and add the spring onions and fresh coriander, reserving a little of each for the garnish. Season, then ladle into heated bowls. Top with the reserved garnishes.
Bird’s eye chilies may look insubstantial, but they pack quite a punch. Don’t be tempted to add more unless you are a real chili head!