Not Your Average Lentil Soup
Indian Mishrit Masoor ka Soup is a staple at our house, especially after the holidays with rich food. This soup is extremely healthy and loaded with fiber, vitamins A and C, Calcium, and Iron. The Mishrit Massor ka Soup translates into mixed lentil soup. I used a combination of red, black, and green lentils for this recipe, but if you only have one kind of lentil, that’s fine and won’t change the result. This vegetarian recipe can easily be made vegan by omitting butter. I’ve broken down the recipes into three easy stages. First, cook the lentils; while they are cooking, start the soup base in another pan. It is essential to prep the ingredients and keep them separate until you are ready to use them. Once you begin the process, it will come together rapidly, so have everything prepared before you start. Lastly, add the cooked lentils to the soup base, cook for 45 minutes, and then garnish with additional spices and herbs.
I like the flavor of coconut milk with the lentils, but you can use heavy cream or half and half instead if you prefer. I use water instead of stock in this recipe, but you can use chicken or vegetable stock. I’ve left the asafetida powder as optional in the recipe. Asafetida powder is a digestive aid, condiment, and pickling. It plays a critical flavoring role in Indian vegetarian cuisine by acting as a savory enhancer. It adds an intense, oniony bitterness which I think is excellent, but some might find it off-putting.
Wine pairings: Reisling, Sparkling Rosé or Rosé
Indian Mishrit Masoor ka Soup (Mixed Lentil Soup)
- medium pot with lid
- cutting board
- chef knife
- measuring cups and spoons
- whisk, kitchen spoon, or ladle
- 2 cups lentils mixed, rinsed, and cleaned (Red, green, and black lentils)
- 4 cups water
- 1 whole Chili, large, green, stemmed and split in half (Thai or Serrano)
- 1 tbsp ginger, root(peeled) or puree, fresh
- 1½ tsp salt, kosher, or sea
- ⅓ cup oil, avocado, or neutral-tasting high-temperature oil
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds (preferably black seeds, but more common brown seeds are fine)
- 1 tbsp mustard, black seeds
- 1 whole onion, peeled, cored, and finely diced
- 1 tsp coriander, ground
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne, ground
- 1-2 whole tomato, diced red heirloom, or ripe plum tomato
- 4 tbsp butter or ghee
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp asafetida, powder (optional)
- 1½ tsp Garam masala
- 1 tsp Fenugreek, ground
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ⅓ cup cilantro, minced (lightly packed)
Cook the Lentils- Stage 1
- Rinse and clean the lentils and drain them into a colander. Place the lentils in a medium pot and fill it with water. (The water should be about 1 inch above the level of the lentils) Add the ginger root or puree, green chili, and salt to the pot. Place the lentils over medium to high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Reserve
Make the Soup Base- Stage 2
- (It is essential to keep the onions, tomato, garlic, and spices separate until you need them.)
- While the lentils are cooking, start on the soup base. Peel, core, and finely chop the onion, reserve. Likewise, core and chop the tomato and mince the garlic. Finally, measure out all of the spices separately and reserve.
- Heat the oil in a large chef pot or saute pan roughly (400°F or 205°C)
- To the hot oil, add the cumin seeds. The seeds should start sizzling right away—Cook for 30 seconds. Next, add the mustard seeds and cook for an additional 30 seconds. To this, add the minced onions. Reduce the heat to medium-high (This will help cool down the oil and prevent the spices from burning.) Cook the onions until they start to become translucent. Add the coriander, chili powder, and ground cayenne to cook for 1 minute more. To cool this mixture down, add the tomato and minced garlic. Cook the mixture until the tomatoes start to break down.
Combine- Stage 3
- To the soup base, add the reserved lentils. Almost all of the liquid, but not entirely, should have been absorbed during the cooking of the lentils. Therefore the lentils should not be dry but have just a bit of water to keep them loose. (If the lentils are too dry, add a bit more water) Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer (212°F-100°C), and cover with a lid or tightly with aluminum foil for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, lift the lid and stir the soup. To this, add the butter and stir to incorporate. Once the butter has melted, stir in the coconut milk. Finally, add the asafetida (optional), stir to combine, and mix thoroughly.
- Next, bump up the seasonings with lemon juice, Garam masala, Fenugreek, and minced cilantro.
- Lastly, check the salt and pepper levels and, if desired, remove the whole ginger pieces (if any). Serve hot in bowls with garlic/cilantro Nann bread, and enjoy!