Curry powders and pastes vary in flavor and heat: begin with two tablespoons and add more according to your taste. Ray loves curry and we both loved this healthy, hearty and very flavorful soup. Serve with some fresh bread. Warmed up Naan bread would also be yummy.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: about 25 minutes
3 tablespoons oil
1 1/3 cups of red, yellow or green lentils. If they are whole and not split- they will need to cook longer.
5 cups of vegetable broth or water- you can use low sodium chicken broth if necessary
1 medium onion cut into medium dice
2 celery ribs cut into medium dice
3 medium carrots finely chopped- I like carrots, if you not so much, just use 2 carrots.
2 large garlic cloves finely diced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon curry paste- I like Patak Madras curry paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper if you like more heat- optional
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons of agave syrup or honey or to taste
1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
1. Heat oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery. Cook until the onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add chopped garlic, stir until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 4 more minutes. Add the curry powder, curry paste, cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper(if you are using); stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lentils and 4 of the 5 cups of stock or water, mix well. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until lentils are tender, about 25 minutes.
2. Meanwhile puree chickpeas, lemon juice and the 5th cup of stock or water in a blender. Add chickpea puree to the lentil soup, this will give the soup a creamier texture. Now add agave or honey and season with salt to taste- probably about 1 teaspoon of salt. Add additional curry powder if desired. Add some water by the 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency if you find it too thick.
Make soup up to one day ahead. Cool and then reheat when ready to serve. Will stay in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.