Following my trip to Antigua, Guatemala, I searched out a recipe for “curried red lentil soup.” During my visit, I had a real “yen” for soup and our rental apartment stove is so off balance that it is tough to saute or cook with much accuracy. The stove tilts to the right, so if I use a pan and add oil, the bottom of the pan is never coated because I end up with a pool of oil in one spot of the pan. The stovetop also has two settings that function: off and full on high power. Nothing in between. Suffice it to say, I use my toaster oven and do really simple cooking.
There is a wonderful little place across town, near to where we hike a few times a week. On the way home one Sunday, I stopped and bought a pint of red lentil curry soup. Boy, it hit the spot and I decided then and there to try to replicate it when I came back to Seattle.
I found the recipe below in a two and a half-year-old Karol Bāgh Bon Appetit magazine and, of course, tweaked it here and there. It is good, It is easy and quick to prepare, it is filling, it checks all the boxes for me. And it stays refrigerated for a few days — easy to reheat for another lunch or dinner. It is vegan, in case that matters to you.
Red Lentil Curry Soup
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium brown skinned onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon medium curry powder (I bought mine in bulk at the market)
- 1 pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (add more if you love spice)
- ¾ cup red lentils
- 1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes (mine were fire roasted)
- 2 ½ cups water
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Fine Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves (for serving)
- 1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, shaken well (full fat for me) I removed about ¼ cup (for serving) f
- Lime wedges (for serving)
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring often, until softened and golden brown, about eight minutes. Add garlic, ginger, curry powder, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about two minutes. Add lentils and cook, stirring, about one minute.
Add tomatoes, ½ cup cilantro, a generous pinch of salt, and 2 ½ cups water; season with pepper. Set aside 1/4 cup coconut milk for serving and add remaining coconut milk to saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft but not mushy, 20–25 minutes. Season soup with more salt and pepper if needed.
To serve, divide soup among bowls. Drizzle with reserved coconut milk and top with more cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
This soup can be made three days ahead (just wait to add the toppings when serving). Let cool; cover and chill.