Curried Red Lentil Soup
Amidst the cold, doldrum, late-winter months in Michigan, there becomes a longing for coziness in a meal that stays with you in the body, mind, and soul. The warm spiciness of curry, accentuated by the slight punchiness of garam masala and ginger, may offer that precise notch of heat you're looking for to keep you pressing forward toward Spring.
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 tbsps curry powder
2 tbsps garam masala
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 cup red lentils
5 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Cilantro, scallions, and lime wedges, for serving (optional)
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
When hot, add the onion and carrot. Cook until they begin to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute more, adding a small drizzle of olive oil and lowering the heat if necessary to make sure they don’t burn.
Stir in the curry powder, turmeric, garam masala, and ground coriander and cook for about 30 seconds more, until fragrant.
Add the vegetable stock and lentils and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded and the lentils and carrots are soft and cooked through, about 45-60 minutes. If you prefer your soup looser, add in 1/2 to 1 cup more stock or water and cook a few minutes longer until heated through.
While the soup simmers, heat a medium skillet over low heat. Toast the coconut flakes, stirring frequently, until they are lightly golden and fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Taste the soup and adjust seasonings. I tend to add more garam masala and curry powder, but to each their own :)
Serve in bowls and pass the coconut flakes at the table. If desired, serve with ramekins of cilantro, scallions, and lime wedges at the table.