03 September 2013

Foodie Tuesday | Daal Masoor (Red Lentil Soup)

So here's the deal: generally I don't promote specific products in Recipe Tuesday because a) I'm no saleswoman, and b) it's about the meal, not the individual ingredient(s). For this recipe, though, some specific ingredients are essential. Here's the back story:

You know that every year I attend the One of a Kind craft show at Christmas. It's the kickoff to our holiday season, and not to be missed. I love everything about it, but I especially love the Taste of OOAK section, where I come across the most amazing finds (dark chocolate-banana flavoured peanut butter, anyone?). This past Christmas, I was drawn in by the Jaswant's Kitchen booth, who were offering taste tests of the most delicious lentil soup I've ever come across. I've only recently been turned on to Indian flavours (historically I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to spice, but age or experience - or both! - is giving me a much more adventurous palate in the last year or so, which means.... bring on the curry!) but this soup had me at hello.

So I bought a little tester of spices, thinking that if I'd been fooled by the taste test (as I sometimes am) and didn't love it for the long term, I'd invested only a little and no harm, no foul.

As it turns out? WE LUUUURVE THIS SOUP. And now you can, too.

Five reasons to love this soup:
  1. It freezes beautifully, which makes it perfect for the family or couple on the go. Make ahead then separate your servings in handy to-go packages for easy lunches and dinners-on-the-run.
  2. You can adjust the spice level to suit your tastes. 1 tbsp per 1 cup of lentils/4 cups water or broth is recommended, but if you prefer a milder flavour, simply use a little less and voila! Completely customisable.
  3. It's an absolutely STUNNING dish. Tadka Masala infuses everything with this gorgeous golden colour, but be forewarned: when I say everything, I mean everything. Wooden spoons and white counter tops, beware.
  4. Jaswant's Kitchen has an online shop that ships directly to your door for ten bucks S&H (or free for orders over $75). They're seriously fast: my order was submitted, received, processed and delivered within five days. OR, visit them at the OOAK Craft Shows to make your purchasing experience that much more fun. The prices are really reasonable, especially considering how little you need for each batch.
  5. Spice mixtures keep beautifully in the fridge for months, and Tadka Masala in particular forms the flavour base for a vast number of dishes, including lamb and chicken curry, Aloo Gobi (a delicious potato-cauliflower dish) and Raj Mahn, a kidney bean/tomato-based dish best resembling chili, but with a North Indian profile. Amazing stuff.

Preparation: 1 minute | Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes | Serves: 6-8
Cooking Directions:
  1. Bring chicken broth to a rolling boil in a medium pot.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse lentils under warm water. 
  3. To the boiling water, add the rinsed lentils, salt and Tadka Masala.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Allow to simmer until the lentils lose their shape and the mixture becomes thick, between 30 and 40 minutes depending in your stove.
  5. Remove from heat. Add Garam Masala and whisk to blend.
  6. Serve as a soup, or over basmati rice for a heartier meal. Garnish with a generous dollop of sour cream (I use, like, 3 tbsp. Just sayin'), minced chives and chopped cilantro. 

You can easily make this recipe in its intended vegan format by using plain water rather than broth. I like the added richness (and salt) that the broth adds, but honestly it's just as good without. It's quite thick (like a chowder) so if you prefer a more soup-like texture, go ahead and add a little water to thin it out.

Be generous with your garnishes... it's a little spicy. Enjoy!

Notes: easy | freezer-friendly | vegetarian | one-pot-wonder

PS - You should know that I've been in no way compensated or perk'd for promoting Jaswant's Kitchen. I just love this soup, and I think you will too.

{adapted from this recipe at Jaswant's Kitchen}