Flavorful not hot spicy Indian lentil soup with split red masoor dal lentils, a couple of spices and other healthy ingredients. This soup is great all year round but of course most suitable when the days get shorter and cooler. See notes for ingredient advice.
Keyword: indian soup, lentil, masoor dal, spices, vegan
Wash and keep your red lentil to soak for about 20-30 mins. That will reduce your cooking time a bit and save you stove energy as well.
Add oil to a pan and heat up, add in and fry your onion slices.
Add the mustard seeds with the curry leaves and temper/stir-fry until the spices emit the fragrant aroma.
Now add the tomato and ginger and garlic, Stir cook again.
Next, reduce the heat so that you can add the spices one by one without anything burning on. Add in the turmeric powder, the chili powder, the black pepper, the cumin powder and the coriander powder.
Stir fry the spices on high heat for a minute, then reduce the heat again.
Add the lentils to the pan and stir fry for a minute on high heat again. This I believe helps in releasing the taste of the lentils for the soup flavor.
Pour in your broth, mix and add the scraped nutmeg and mix again well.
Let the soup cook covered until the lentils are soft, that should take about 10 minutes.
Take from heat season with salt to taste and add the lime juice. Mix well.
Pour soup into serving bowl and garnish with fresh cilantro (coriander).
Curry leaves are optional because they are not always available. However, I do suggest you get them because the curry leaves add real flavor to the Indian dal soup. Curry leaves btw have nothing in common with curry powder. These are two very different ingredients. Curry leaves grow on the curry plant tree. The leaves taste best when fresh, in fact, curry leaves are rarely used dry in India. You can purchase fresh curry leaves here for a reasonable price.
For the Ginger and Garlic paste, you can also use fresh ginger and garlic but I prefer the paste because it mixes in better and the ginger in paste form helps to thicken any soup or sauce. Yet feel free to use ginger and garlic fresh, substitute 1 tbs paste for 2 fresh garlic clove and ½ inch fresh ginger and chop fine. You can also buy ginger garlic paste.
You may double the dal soup recipe to prepare more. That way you can meal prep for the week and besides lentil soup heated up again the next day usually tastes better. 4. If you feel your soup is getting too thick, add some more water to the soup at the end. Sometimes I add about 100 milliliters more, depending on how liquid I want my soup.
If you are short on time, you can skip the soaking part of the lentil. red lentils usually cook fast but the soaking can reduce it a bit and with the soaking the tend to cook evenly and get nice soft.
I add the mustard seeds and curry leaves after the onion has been added because the mustard seeds don't jump up that much when the onion is in the pan.