Ravi’s Curried Red Lentil and Apricot Soup
I have been reducing my sodium gradually over the past year and my sodium culprits are not table salt itself; instead it is soy sauce, miso and sauerkraut. Because of that, I still eat a lot more sodium than my parents. Packaged foods use salt as a preservative, thus canned and prepared foods generally contain more sodium. But Ravi’s soup is supposed to be homemade. He shared his (healthy) recipe. The numbers just don’t add up. Thus the culprit must be over-salting (and the red curry paste).
While Ravi suddenly passed away a few months ago, he leaves behind a quaint resto chain which serves delicious soups and sandwiches. I haven’t been in a (very long) while, but it was a sure-fire bargain on Friday evenings when everything was half-priced before they closed for the weekend. I remember one of their soups of the day, an uber delicious butternut squash soup with lemongrass that I wanted to recreate but it has since become a distant memory.
Another one of Ravi’s soups on my ‘To Make List’ has been his Curried Red Lentil and Apricot Soup. I would categorize this as the other kind of Indian food. If I have to tell you this is a curried soup, then it isn’t from India.
However, it has all the components of a great Indian dish: red lentils, tomato, a touch of coconut milk, garlic, ginger and curry powder. The dried apricots are what hold me from thinking this is an authentic Indian dish, but they work really well here. Chopped up in small pieces, you get bursts of sweetness that complement the savoury elements of the rest of the dish. Creaminess comes from the red lentils and just a hint of coconut milk. This soup is more sweet and bright than the cumin-scented pigeon pea soup with mango that I adore but it likely depends on the curry powder you use.
I know the dried apricots seem so odd, but they work surprisingly well. For some reason, their sweetness permeates the soup without being too overpowering. The leftovers were even better as the sweetness subsided slightly. Dried apricots can pack a bona fide punch of taste, so if in doubt, use less dried apricots.
Straight from their menu, though, this curried red lentil and apricot soup is so easy to make, it behooves you to make it yourself.. and with a lot less sodium.
This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, this month’s Everyone Can Cook Vegetarian for orange foods, and Little Thumbs Up event, hosted by Eats Well in Flanders, organized by Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids and Doreen for my little favourite D.I.Y.
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp finely chopped, peeled ginger
1 tbsp mild curry powder
1/2 cup tomato, cored, chopped (I used 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes)
1/3 cup dried apricots, diced
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
4 cups water
1/3 cup coconut milk
Salt + ground black pepper to taste
Chopped cilantro, to garnish
1. In large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Once hot, add onions and saute for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the garlic and ginger, stirring to cook, for 2 minutes.
2. Add the curry powder; cook 1 minute. Add tomato, apricots, lentils and water and bring soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer and cook until the lentils are soft, approximately 30 minutes.
3. Stir in coconut milk. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup to your desired consistency (I left mine partially pureed).
4. Taste and season with salt and pepper. To serve, sprinkle with cilantro.