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Monday, 1 August 2011

Brown Lentil Soup is just as good as red lentil soup if not better!

For this recipe in Arabic, follow this link

Easy  | Serves 6
Brown Lentil soup tastes delightful. It is heartier than the regular lentil soup and makes for a delicious variation. 
Serve it with toasted brown or wholegrain bread and a squeeze of lime! Excellence!
Good morning Ramadan. So it is officially the first day of Ramadan, therefore Ramadan Mubarak to all of you and your families :)

Since everybody breaks fast with soup to begin with, and since all of you have requested I post soup recipes for Ramadan, I thought to start with this original, hearty, warming and super delicious soup recipe: Brown Lentil Soup. Brown lentils are very similar in flavour to the classic red lentils. The difference is that they are nuttier, stronger flavoured and have a bit of a bite to them. So while the red lentils will cook into a mushy softness, these will hold their shape and have a bit of a bite. You can process the soup after its done if you are looking for a smooth finish, but I found that keeping them whole as they are after being cooked, adds to the texture and therefore enhancing the overall experience.
For this recipe, I cook the brown lentils exactly the same as I would the red lentils. However, they do need a little bit of extra liquid (water or broth...). Kind of like brown rice as opposed to white rice. What really inspired this recipe is the Middle Eastern specifically Syrian appetiser dish (Hura' Biosbao), which I love. So in a way this is an in-between lentil soup and Hura' dish.

I have come to find that brown lentils pair especially well with lime instead of lemon. 
I recommend you serve this with wedges of lime on the side. The lime brings out the lentil and coriander flavour.
Instead of going for the traditional fried pita bread, why not try toasted brown or whole-grain bread. These go exceptionally well with this soup, and are healthier than fried bread.
Finally, you can add the fried coriander to the whole pot and stir to mix, or just a dollop in each serving. The latter is stronger in flavour though, if you are looking for a milder coriander flavour just mix in the big pot.

Use whole spices
instead of ground
Tip The use of whole spices instead of ground infuse the aromas into the soup rather than overpower its original flavours. Just place them in a spice pouch as it is easier to fetch out once done.

If you are a purist, and still prefer the classic red lentil soup, don't worry! The recipe is posted on this blog :)

Here is how this amazing soup is made...

You Need
1 Cup Brown Lentils, washed and drained
1 medium onion, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, crushed
8 cups Chicken Broth or broth made from the bones
1 tsp Cumin seeds
4 cardamom pods
3 cloves
4 black pepper corns
1 bay leaf
2 small cinnamon sticks
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 bunch, finely chopped coriander
A dash of extra virgin olive oil
toasted pine nuts for garnish

Tip   I preffer using the pressure cooker although old fashioned! It keeps the nutrients in the soup, it also saves on time and work. Pressure cooking also keeps nutrients sealed inside. This recipe is based-on presto use. if you prefer using a regular pot, then keep an eye the liquid ratio and add more as needed.

wash and drain lentils

In the pressure pot heat oil, add crushed garlic and chopped onions till translucent but not browned. Add the washed lentils and stir to mix. Season with salt & black pepper. Pour the broth over all and stir scraping the bottom of pot. Add spice pouch and stir again. Bring to a gentle boil, seal with lid and cook for 15 minutes. If you are not using the pressure cooker, then cook till lentils are soft.

In a small frying pan, heat a dash of olive oil, and stir fry the coriander with 1 clove garlic finely chopped. 

Pour the ready soup into serving dish, add the fried coriander to it and stir to mix. You can either do this step in the large pot, or just add 1 tsp of fried coriander to each soup bowl. Top with toasted nuts and if you like some fried onions. Serve hot with toasted bread.

 Ramadan Kareem!

If you liked this recipe I would love to hear your comments below, if you have never tried it I hope that this post inspires you to go and give it a try... let me know, do leave a comment :)
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