janet @ the taste space

Ravi’s Curried Red Lentil and Apricot Soup

In Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on June 13, 2013 at 6:23 AM

Another one of the meals The Dish featured was Ravisoup’s Corn chowder with blue crab and Thai basil. It fared pretty well: 288 calories, 14g of fat…. but 1763 mg of sodium. Holy moley!

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.

Ravi’s Curried Red Lentil and Apricot Soup
Adapted from The Toronto Star, courtesy of Ravi Soups

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.

Serves 4.

  1. I love dried apricots – this reminds me of a few middle eastern soups with dried apricots that I bookmarked years ago and never made – though I think I did a version of them in some sort on my blog – will definitely be bookmarking this soup

  2. Oh, yum! This looks really interesting – I’m just beginning to realise I need to learn how to do curries, and this looks like a delicious place to start (you had me at ‘dried apricots’).

  3. I was thinking the same as Joanne above, sounds almost Middle-Eastern with the dried-fruit, although the curry powder keeps it more Indian. In any case it looks delicious, all the more so now we’re back to soup weather here!
    Sodium’s something I’ve started to be a bit more mindful of recently too, and like you, it’s not processed foods that are the issue for me but using tamari, miso and sea salt in my cooking! I’ve no idea what my daily totals look like…

  4. Wow, I would never have thought to use dried apricots in a lentil soup! Super interesting. I agree–it does sound very Mediterranean!

  5. I’m definitely very intrigued by this because I’ve never seen dried apricots in soup, and especially not in a curried soup! A flavor combination that I need to try.

  6. That is sad about Ravi but what a wonderful recipe to leave behind. Just think …..all of our creations will live on after we do!

  7. I grew up with my mum frequently making tagines and Middle Eastern casseroles that used prunes and dried apricots for sweetness, so I know this would be magnificent 🙂

  8. I love the idea of apricots in this! Dried fruit in savoury dishes always makes me happy 🙂

  9. I just made a similar Armenian-style soup from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure, and I can confirm that dried apricots and red lentils are a perfect match!

  10. I love the addition of dried apricots to dishes. They just add a pop of something a little different, add some sweetness to the savoury. So I think this sounds amazing 🙂 totally bookmarking this one!

  11. Thanks for joining in our curry event. Curried lenthils and apricot soup, that is indeed an interesting combination, would like to try it one day! 🙂

  12. This soup looks right up my alley. I think the lentils and apricot sounds like a wonderful combination–especially with the ginger and curry. Thanks for sharing with Souper Sundays this week. 😉

  13. a yummy soup and actually apricots are used quite a lot in Indian cuisine in places like Hyderabad which the city was established by Turks – dried and fresh apricots are used a lot here in desserts, biryanis and curries

  14. Hi Janet,

    Nice to have you cooking with curry powder with us! Sorry for my late visit as I was away for holiday.

    Apricot in curry sounds very new and exciting to me 😀


  15. Just got done making this for tomorrow’s lunch. YUM! And that’s without the cilantro. I just upped the garlic and ginger a bit. And then—–I threw in some turmeric because I’ve been reading so much about the health benefits. But that made it taste a little funky (I can see where I won’t be sprinkling turmeric on all my food!), so true confession: I had to add a little agave to sweeten it back up (sad to have that do that since the tomatoes and apricots are sweet). But now it is perfect. I will still use turmeric in Indian cooking—but will stick to turmeric capsules with black pepper for my nutrition boost. Can swear the turmeric is working—have had a great sense of well-being lately, but who’s to say whether it is just the cumulative effects of diet and exercise, including some meditation and other self-help stuff?

    Possibly this recipe isn’t the most authentic Indian, what with the curry powder, which a purist Indian cook wouldn’t use—but it’s delicious nonetheless.

    By the way, all your writing is good, but something about the descriptions in this post strike me as especially poetic and appealing.


    • Ellen, your comments make my heart burst with happiness. Have you ever tried a lemon-turmeric tisane? It would likely need a sweetener, too. Now I am really interested in finding more turmeric recipes, though. 🙂

  16. Nope, never have—-and couldn’t even find a recipe for it, except for this, which uses ginger rather than lemon:


    And then I found something using honey as well as turmeric and lemon…and it was a facial mask!

    Dr. Weil (who I have mixed feelings about) recommends using turmeric in its natural state in food as opposed to in a supplement, but I just don’t know that I want all my food to be yellow! I like to eat a rainbow…

  17. Did you see that Heidi had a turmeric tea today? Not sure I can do it…


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