I spoke too soon. It was cold but now it is warm.
Houston felt the “Polar Vortex“. The “Arctic Invasion” that froze Niagara Falls (!!) (on the American side) brought Houston to lows a bit below freezing. With the 90% humidity, -4ºC was quite chilly but nothing compared to what the rest of the country was feeling. But this weekend, the humidity and chills disappeared. It was a balmy 26ºC with (only!) 25% humidity and Rob and I celebrated by wearing shorts, visiting the beach and kayaking in the Galveston area bay. Yeah, it was summer once again.
People at work wonder why I am so happy, but even small victories like this make my heart sing. Every time I cycle to work, I am ecstatic. Instead of hurricanes, Houston was hit by a drought this year. I have cycled to work every day, safe 3 days so far in the past 6 months. Snow, ice and rain will keep me off my bike, not cold weather alone.
Soups like this also make my tummy sing. It is filled with all great things: red lentils as a solid base, kabocha squash and coconut milk for a creamy backdrop, spiced with ginger and chile flakes, tempered by tamarind and lime juice with a lemongrass twist. The flavours meld perfectly and this is a soup that will definitely warm you up during a cold front.
Were you hit by the cold? I heard the vortex may return again. I am thinking warm thoughts for you.
If you like this soup, you may also enjoy these:
Kabocha Squash, Coconut & Lentil Soup
Adapted from Pulse
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (~3 -4 tbsp)
1/2 tsp Aleppo chile flakes, or to taste
1-2 stalks of lemongrass, outer leaves removed and stem finely chopped (3 tbsp)
1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
1 lb chopped kabocha squash (3 cups) or winter squash of choice (if not kabocha, peel it first)
5 cups water or vegetable broth (I used water with 1 tsp nutritional yeast)
3/4 cup lite coconut milk
2 tbsp tamarind paste, or to taste
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro, with some reserved for garnish
2 tbsp lime juice (from 1 lime), or to taste
1 tsp Bragg’s or soy sauce, or to taste
1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add oil. Once hot, add onion and saute until softened and browned. Add garlic, ginger, chile flakes and lemongrass and stir for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
2. Add the lentils, squash and cover with water/stock and simmer until the lentils and squash are soft and tender and the squash has collapsed, around 30-45 minutes.
3. Stir in the coconut milk, tamarind and the majority of the cilantro. Taste for seasoning, soy sauce, lime juice and tamarind. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve warm.