I am always on the lookout for nice chunky soups, and this is an unusual hot and sour one. I played around with the recipe a bit as I could not get hold of curry leaves and asafoetida.
1 1/2 cups of split yellow lentils, soaked and washed until water is clear
1 ½ cups of coconut milk
Vegetables, like cubed aubergines, tomatoes, green beans, cauliflower florets
2 -3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ medium sized onion, chopped
½ tsp ginger, minced
2 tsp tamarind paste
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp dried black mustard seeds
½ tsp of finely ground red chili powder
1 tsp of dried red chili flakes
2 -3 whole dried red chilies (optional)
Pandan leaves, knotted up
3 seeds of cardamom
2 – 3 tbsp ghee
Salt to taste and as necessary
Water as necessary
2 tbsp tomato paste and 1 tbsp of garam masala
Boil the lentils in water, pandan leaves, turmeric, tamarind paste and chilli until the lentil is soft. You shouldn’t boil off the water; leave enough for the lentils to be mushier (about an inch over the top layer).
In another pan, sauté the spices in ghee until fragrant. Add in the vegetables. Then add the content of this pan to the lentil pot. Slowly mix in the coconut milk. Adjust the seasoning and consistency. Allow to cook for one hour for that lovely melding of tastes.
Serve with a dollop of natural yoghurt.
(Note: I love the flavours. It tastes like a very wholesome Asian tomato soup. My family, on the other hand, found the combination of sourness and spicy-ness a bit too weird for their British palate).