This Recipe is adapted from ‘‘Chef Osama” website.
Lentil soup was my mom’s go-to recipe for the coldest winter afternoons. It was a chunky and nutritious soup that is packed with vegetables’ vitamins. However, it is one of those dishes that I distanced myself from, once I moved out of my parents house. It simply conjured up the piles of homework and memories of those short bleak days of winter school time! Almost 25 years after the last time I ate it, I was flying back from Istanbul to Paris very pregnant with a terrible flu. The business lounge in Istanbul airport had an inviting buffet, which the lentil soup took its center stage. Paradoxically, I didn’t hesitate to help myself with some! The first spoonful brought to me immeasurable comfort. The comfort that only moms’ food can radiate.
May be I didn’t like everything my mom cooked, but certainly there was something special and unique about it, that it was made with love and attention.
Et Voila, this is how my mom’s soup rejoined my repertoire. As in most cases, older generation of moms don’t follow recipes. Therefore I adapted one I found online for the acclaimed Egyptian “Chef Osama”. His recipe has well-balanced ingredients, but lacks spices (except salt and pepper). My version of lentil soup is jazzed it up with few pungent spices for vibrant color, heady flavors and optional exciting heat. I fancy the creamy texture over the chunky one, so my version of this soup is finely blended.
This soup is as comfort food as it gets. Having said that, a rich dollop of cream and few vibrant leaves of celery turn my mom’s winter soup into a stunning and elegant starter that always wow my guests.
Recipe of Spiced Lentil Soup
Serves 4-6 people
2 cups orange lentil
5 tablespoons non flavored oil like canola oil
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and cubed
1 celery stalk with leaves, chopped
2 gloves garlic, sliced
8 cups broth (chicken, meat or vegetables)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt and pepper
Whipping cream or sour cream for garnish
For toasted bread
Pita bread or Lavash
1 teaspoon Sumak
Salt and pepper
- Soak the lentil in cold water for 30 minutes and then rinse under running water.
- Heat the oil on a medium heat until it is hot but not smoky.
- Start sautéing the vegetables for few minutes until they wilt.
- Add lentil and stock and bring to boil.
- Add all spices except salt and let it simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes
- Turn off heat and let the soup cool down.
- Blend the soup finely in a blender or use a blender stick.
- Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the soup.
- Reheat the soup before serving and adjust the salt and pepper.
- Garnish the soup with a drizzle of whipping cream, or a dollop of sour cream, and few leaves of celery.
- Serve it with toasted pita bread and wedges of lemon.
For the toasted bread:
Cut pita bread, using scissors, in small triangles and mix them thoroughly with olive oil and spices. Toast the bread in a 150º preheated oven for 6-8 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.
- Preferably, make this soup a day ahead as the flavors get intensified.
- Add salt near the end of cooking time to avoid over-salting the soup.
- Avoid cooking this soup over high heat as it can easily get scorched. Low simmer does it.