Saturday, January 12, 2013
Karahi Lentil Soup
Can I just say my Christmas was fantastic.
I've had a couple weeks to digest and I gotta say it really, truly was great.
Here's what we did....nothing.
It was perfect.
The baby had been sick most of December which turned me into a sleep-deprived, stressed-out mess. Between caring for him, and trying to keep everyone else healthy, Christmas was really the last thing on my list. It took real determination to bake cookies, wrap presents, and decorate the house. I just didn't care.
But slowly he improved and a few days before Christmas he was gaining strength. It was a miracle, it was beautiful, it was Christmas.
I guess normally I'm running around like a lunatic trying to buy and do and make Christmas special, but this year I was so worn out that I did very little to make Christmas and embraced Christmas for the total blessing that it is. I drank a glass of wine, and stared at the Christmas lights and had a few too many sugar cookies. I didn't get out of my pajamas on Christmas Day.... like at all.
I took the time to recognize how wonderful my life is and what amazing people I have around me and how maybe I take this all a little too much for granted.
Treasuring my life also means taking care of my body and giving it the things it needs to keep me healthy, energetic, and sane. I have been craving piping hot bowls of soup, especially with lots of spice. Exotic spice, like fenugreek and cardamom, warming and bright and sultry.
A karahi is an Indian wok. It also refers to a thick stew of tomatoes and chiles and either chicken or mutton prepared in the karahi and served by the kilogram in India and Pakistan and Bangladesh. Its particular blend of spices and chiles are exactly what I've been craving and adapt beautifully to earthy lentils for a fine winter soup.
Karahi Lentil Soup
Makes 6-8 servings
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil or vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
3 dried arbol chiles, crushed
1 (15-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 pound red lentils, rinsed
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock, or low-sodium broth
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Toast the coriander and fenugreek seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant, about a minute or two. Grind to a powder in a clean coffee grinder or with a pestle and mortar.
Heat coconut or vegetable oil in a large stock pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and carrots and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Add garlic, ginger, and chiles and season again with salt and pepper. Cook another minute and then add tomatoes, ground coriander and fenugreek, lentils, and stock. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes to an hour.
Thin soup out with a some water if it seems too thick. Stir in lemon juice and cilantro and adjust salt and pepper as desired. Garnish with a little chili oil or yogurt and serve.