Someone in our house looooooooves lentils.
I'm not kidding. He'd eat them every day and be happy. In fact, in his YPM (years pre-megan), he'd eat lentil soup for weeks on end. Cause he enjoyed it. (And cause lentils are, like, 5 lbs for a dollar)
When I came into the picture, the lentil eating slowed. I do like most lentil dishes, but they end up causing me tummy troubles. Which are not so fun.
Take a wild guess at which country in the world produces the most lentils?
(I read this on wikipedia, so it's got to be true)
Any guesses? India? They're number 2... And Turkey is number 3. I'll write the answer at the bottom of the post so you can have time to think.
But back to the soup. Mr. S said that he's had a lot of lentil soups in his day (and I believe him fully when he says that), but this is soup is hands down his favorite. Good thing we wrote down the recipe!
If you like the flavorful lentils known as daal you get at an Indian restaurant, this soup's for you.
Start off with red lentils (they gotta be red) in a pot.
Add water and bring to a boil.
In a large skillet, cook the serrano pepper, ginger, garlic, and turmeric in some veggie oil on medium heat.
Once they brown slightly and smell delightful, add the tomatoes. Cook for another minute.
Dump all of that in the lentil pot. Stir. Put the lid askew and wait for it to thicken in 20 minutes or so. Stir occasionally.
In that same skillet pan - you don't need to wash it - toss in a bit more oil and the potatoes and green onion. Brown them and cook them through. About 10 minutes. Don't over crowd the pan. Do it in two batches if your skillet is smallish.
Once the soup is thickened stir in the cilantro, salt and pepper. You'll need a lot of salt. Taste and add till you get it right.
Serve in bowls with the potatoes on top and bit more cilantro.
Daal Fantastic (aka Spicy Red Lentil Soup)
Makes 4-5 bowls
Vigorously adapted from Food Network
2 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed
7 c. water
1 serrano chile, diced (remove seeds for less spicy)
2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 red potatoes, cubed up into smallish cubes
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 green onions, chopped
Generous amount of salt
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for topping
Naan or other flatbread, for serving
In a large pot, combine water and lentils. Cover and bring them to a boil. (Head up - the lentils are pretty starchy and may boil over)
In a large skillet, cook the serrano, ginger, garlic, and turmeric with a tablespoon of vegetable oil until you can smell them. Throw in the tomatoes, and cook for a minute or two. Dump all of that into the lentil pot.
Simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes with the lid partially on.
In the same large skillet - no washing required - over medium heat, brown up the potato cubes and green onions in a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Cook until brown on the outside and soft on the inside. Remove from heat and set aside.
Once the soup is thickened, stir in the cilantro, salt and pepper. Lentils need salt, you'll use a lot. It's ok. Spoon into bowls and add some of the browned potatoes to each bowl. Top with more cilantro if desired.
Figured it out?
The country that produced 1,510,000 tonnes of lentils in 2009 (560,000 more than India) was CANADA.
I know. Seriously. What's up with that??