Coconut Red Lentil Soup

This is absolutely delicious!  Seriously, it is the best soup I have ever made.  It is sweet, layered with flavor, and the plump little raisins are true treasure.  Actually, it’s hard not to overeat this dish.  Plus. it’s easy to make– a real winner.

Kudos really go to 101 Cookbooks.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup yellow split peas, rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed well
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp ghee (or butter)
  • 4 green onions or 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 7 oz coconut milk (half a can)
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Directions

  1. Place the split peas and lentils in a pot with the water and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrots and 1/4 of the ginger (I added all the ginger by mistake the first time and the dish was still delicious). Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes (I forgot to cover it the first time, and, again, this is a very forgiving recipe).
  3. Meanwhile, in a small dry skillet over low heat, toast the curry powder until very fragrant (but be careful not to burn it). Set aside.
  4. In a pan over medium heat, melt the ghee and add the green onions or shallot, the remaining ginger, and the raisins.  Saute for two minutes, stirring constantly, and then add the tomato paste.  Continue sauteing for another minute or two.
  5. Add the curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add it to the simmering soup with the coconut milk and salt.
  6. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so.

 

Health Facts

  • Lentils are an excellent source of soluble fiber and a good source of protein, manganese, iron, phosphorous, copper, vitamin B1 and potassium.
  • For detailed information about the health benefits of coconut milk, click here, highlights below:
    • Coconut milk contains an abundance of Vitamins C, E, and B.
    • Coconut milk is also rich in magnesium, potassium, phosphorous and iron.
    • Coconut milk is a good source of antioxidants and contains lauric acid.
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Red Curry Chicken

IMG_0678Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into strips or chunks
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2-3 tsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, stepped, caps quartered
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper
  • toasted peanuts and cilantro leaves for garnish
  • cardamom rice

Directions

  1. Whisk together the coconut milk, curry paste, and fish sauce until combined.  Set aside.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large skillet until very hot and add 2 Tbsp oil. Add chicken to skillet and cook, turning once, until the chicken is browned but not cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer chicken to a plate and pour off the fat from the skillet.  Add the remaining Tbsp of oil and the mushrooms, stir-frying over high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger and garlic for about 1 minute.  Add the chicken, curry mixture, and the water.  Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Transfer chicken and curry sauce to a serving dish and garnish with peanuts and cilantro.  Serve over rice with lime wedges.

Health Benefits of Mushrooms

  • Mushrooms are low in calories and packed with nutrients.
  • They are an excellent source of B vitamins and minerals, including selenium, copper, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and manganese.
  • Mushrooms contain a powerful antioxidant called L-ergothioneine.
  • They contain more protein than most vegetables.

Source: The New York Times Recipes for Health

Lentil and Farro Curry Soup

After a week at my brother-in-law’s with nary a vegetable in sight, I craved something healthy to spoon into my mouth.  (The food at my brother-in-law’s was good.  Christmas cookies galore– seriously, breakfast, lunch, and dinner– and my sister-in-law roasted a turkey with commendably crisped skin, etc., etc., but I don’t count mashed potatoes as a vegetable and started having concerns about scurvy….)  I don’t feel good when I don’t eat well, so after our seven hour return car trip (thank you, my dear husband, for driving the whole thing!) I went immediately to the bookshelf for Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day cookbook.  This soup, the very first recipe that my eye fell upon, was exactly what I was after: easy to prepare, relatively quick, super healthy, nearly all the ingredients were already in the house (I had to nip out for an onion, but that, after all, is just poor planning on my part), and my husband, carnivore that he is, would eat it too (he has a soft soft for lentils and Indian spices).  Perfect!

A note on farro: This grain is not carried at all supermarkets.  I usually buy it at Trader Joe’s (reasonably priced), although in a pinch you can throw down extra green and procure it at Whole Foods.  But, and this is delightful, the last time I was at Costco, they had large bags of farro!  If it is selling at Costco next to the quinoa, then I know it will take off at your local grocery store any day now.  People are joining my farro celebration (it’s super tasty and good for you).

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 cup peeled and diced sweet potato (one small sweet potato)
  • Salt
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 2/3 cup semi-pearled farro (you can use whole farro, just double the cooking time)
  • 1 1/4 cups green lentils
  • 6 cups water (or vegetable broth– my husband is campaigning for a chicken broth substitution….)
  • Kale (a palm full or more to taste), chopped up into very tiny pieces

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir in the onions and sweet potato.  Season with salt and saute until the onions start to soften (a few minutes).
  3. Add the curry powder (the amount varies defending on taste– I like a generous helping) and stir until everything is coated and fragrant (about a minute).
  4. Add the farro, lentils, kale, and liquid.
  5. Bring to a boil, decrease heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes (until the lentils and farro are thoroughly cooked).
  6. Taste and season with salt as necessary.

Heidi Swanson also recommends the soup be served with a dollop of lemony-Greek yogurt and a drizzle of good extra-virgin olive oil.  My husband doesn’t like lemony food, but the yogurt certainly makes for a fancier presentation (and I think it’s good).  Here’s how to make it:

Lemony Greek Yogurt garnish

Zest and juice half a lemon.  Stir in 1 cup Greek yogurt and 1/4 tsp salt.  Stir and serve on top of soup.

Serves 8 people.