Indian Spiced Red Lentil Soup or Masoor Dal as it's known in India, is short on ingredients but long on flavor. Soothing and simple to make are just two of the reasons to love this warming soup recipe.
I love winter. To me, there is nothing better than curling up by a fire with a good book and a steaming bowl of Cock -a Leekie soup, Thai Hot and Sour Soup. or this classic red lentil soup.
Lentils are a staple in Indian cuisine and for good reason. Nutritious and quick cooking, they are a blank slate that you can flavor with an almost unlimited variety of herbs and spices!
Ingredients and equipment needed:
- red lentils
- vegetable stock
- ginger and garlic paste
- canned tomatoes
- serrano or jalapeno chile
- dried spices - turmeric, cumin, garam masala, and coriander.
- Equipment - knife,f cutting board, small saucepan, large dutch oven or pasta pot.
Red lentils are part of the legume family (Lens culinaris or Lens esculenta) The seeds are small, round and flat shaped and grow on annual plants that grow to about 16 inches in height.
One of the best things about red lentils is that you don't need to soak them and that they cook quickly.
This spicy lentil soup is very good for you! It's low in fat and calories and high in fiber as well as being a good source of protein when served with flatbreads or rice.
How to make Red Lentil Soup:
- Rinse the lentils - rinsing removes any dirt and debris.
- Cook the lentils- cooking the lentils in the stock allows them to really absorb the flavor of the stock.
- Cook the garlic and ginger paste - cooking the ginger and garlic paste is a common Indian technique and really allows those flavors to develop.
- Cook the onion, chile and spices - cooking the spices in oil is also another common Indian cooking technique that really helps draw out the flavor and aroma of the spices.
- Simmer the soup, - add the rest of the ingredients, including the lentils and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.
Tips for making Red Lentil Soup:
- To get that "long simmered" flavor in a fraction of the time, cook the lentils separately in vegetable stock! The lentils absorb the flavors of the stock without being overcooked!
- You can make this vegetarian lentil soup ahead of time because it re heats beautifully.
- If you're not a fan of spicy foods, start with ¼ of a chile. After sauteing the onions, taste the mixture and if you'd like more spice, add more chile!
- Definitely, don't skip sauteing the onions and spices and letting them cook on their own. This helps give this Indian lentil soup it's long-simmered flavor!
Now all you need is a fire and a good book!
Other Soup Recipes you may like:
Indian Spiced Red Lentil Soup
- 1 cup red lentils
- 6 cups vegetable stock divided
- 2 Tablespoons canola oil
- 2 Tablespoons ginger and garlic paste**
- 1 small onion cut into ¼ inch dice
- 1 fresh serrano chile seeds removed and minced
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- one 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
- Rinse the lentils several times until the water is clear. Transfer the lentils to a small saucepan.
- Add 3 cups of vegetable stock. Over medium heat, bring the lentils to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until the lentils are tender the stock has been absorbed.
- Set aside.
- In a large soup pot, heat the 2 Tablespoons canola oil over medium high heat. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the onion and saute for 2 - 3 minutes, being careful not to brown the onion. Add the chile and spices and cook for another two the three minutes until the spices are fragrant.
- Reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pan and cook for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are tender.
- Add the canned tomatoes, remaining 3 cups vegetable stock and lentils. Stir to combine.
- Increase the heat to medium high and bring the soup to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes to allow all the flavors to blend.
- ** for the ginger garlic paste, you can purchase ginger garlic paste in indian markets or buy individual containers of ginger paste and garlic paste in your local supermarket. But the easiest thing to do is to add ¼ cup peeled, chopped ginger and ¼ cup peeled garlic cloves to a small food processor and process until a paste is formed. Paste will keep about 4 -5 days in the refrigerator.
Hi Nancy! This sounds amazing. I was going to do a butternut & lentil soup this week but I may do this instead. Question: you list 2 TB of ginger and garlic paste - is that a single ingredient, 1 TB each, or a different ratio? I have fresh ginger and fresh garlic as well as gourmet garden paste versions. Thanks!
Hi Rose! It is clear I need a proofreader full time! Definitely need to clarify that one! I actually use a ginger garlic paste that I make and keep in the fridge... hmmm... should probably post about that one, huh??? Yes, it's one tablespoon of each!!
Can you clarify how you make the "paste" for each?
Hi Mary!! Excellent question! You can buy the paste already made in an indian grocery store but it's really easy to make. Just combine equal amounts peeled and chopped fresh ginger with peeled garlic cloves in a food processor and process until you have a coarse paste. I generally use about 1/4 cup of each. I add a little vodka to it to extend it's shelf life in the refrigerator. If you cook a lot of indian and asian dishes, this can save you a lot of time in the kitchen!!
Ananda Rose Jaya says
So I read through this recipe very quickly and wound up using a quarter cup of fresh ground ginger and a quarter cup of fresh ground garlic and it was delicious! 😁
I am so glad that you enjoyed the soup - thank you so much for letting me know!
Nancy, this looks so incredibly delicious! Beautiful, too!
Awww... thanks Valentina!! It's very tasty and quick!!!
Rich and tastes great. Not what I would normally try, so thanks for the inspiration (and amazing photos).
Only a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw great style and design .
Stephen Bailey says
I just made this using freshly micro planed turmeric, homemade garlic ginger paste, freshly ground cumin & coriander, chopped Roma tomatoes 🍅, a can of full fat coconut 🥥 milk, and tossed in a a good sized bag of baby spinach just before the soup came off the heat. 😋
Hi Stephen! Oh my goodness, I can only imagine how absolutely delicious the soup was - fresh ingredients always make such a big difference! I'm so glad you enjoyed the soup! I'm even happier that you adapted it to your own tastes - that's exactly what I hope my readers do!!!
Chef T says
I guess I have to take a course in mentalism to get the quantites of the ingredients!!!
Another example of the contless number of recipes published on line by incompetents!!!
Hello Chef T,
I'm sorry you had difficulty with finding the quantities - did you perhaps not scroll down to the actual recipe card? The instructions in the body of the post are meant to supplement the recipe at the bottom of the post.
If you have any other questions, please let me know!
[email protected] says
Dang man. No need to be hateful. The recipe (with amounts) is included. You just scroll down a little way. Or ignore the recipe and move along and find another, no need for that kind of comment. Without those nice people who just share their recipes- we would have to purchase high priced cookbooks for a couple of recipes! Just be kind!