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Grumpy Lentil Soup
Mar 22nd, 2006

In looking back over the past week or so of dinner recipes, it's pretty clear that I haven't been cooking things my kids will eat. They've been having a lot of cheese and cracker dinners, and you know, I could feel bad about it. But I don't. You know why? Remember when I was musing about how it was so great that they were going to bed earlier and I could deal with the resulting earlier mornings because the boys didn't bug me too much? Remember that? I do.

Hah! Every day since I wrote that entry Ian has gotten up ten to fifteen minutes earlier than the day before. As of this morning what was once a perfectly reasonable 8AM start to the day has slip-slided its way back to the perfectly evil 6:30AM. 6:30 AM!! I am not a morning person. My whole routine is based around this - I don't even start work until 10:00 (a sane and civilized hour of the day). And unfortunately the only person I know who is less of a morning person is my husband, the one snoring away on the pillow beside me. In fact he is so evil if awoken before 8:00 that it's much easier for me just to get up and let him sleep than it would be to deal with him for the rest of the day if he were the one up at the crack of dawn.

So yesterday Ian decided that he was tired (hey, can't imagine why) and a four hour nap in the afternoon sounded like a fabulous plan. You can imagine how easy it was to get him to bed last night. Jim was feeling under the weather so guess who got to wrangle the two year old until 11 PM last night? Ugghh I hate nap days, Ian was lucky I didn't put him on the porch this morning.

So, spicy lentil soup it is! That'll teach the little buggers.

Alright, I don't actually pick what I'm going to cook based on how charitably I'm feeling towards the kids. I've just been trying to use up some things in my fridge. Beet greens were the ingredient on hand recently, and like the Potato Curry with Spinach from last week, this soup is a fabulous place to stash some nutritious greens with picky palates being none the wiser. Since the soup is blended, the only clue to its real contents lies in its (admittedly not lovely) sludgy green color. The ingredients are a bit of a mix of Indian and Thai, and the result tastes like a creamy dahl with the lime juice and Tom Yum paste providing a lovely tang. Do try it, even if you're not mad at your kids!


Spicy Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk
Serves 2 with a bit left over for lunch

1 1/2 cups red lentils
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp Tom Yum paste
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 can coconut milk (approx 7 ounces)
1 bunch beet greens (or chard or spinach), chopped
the juice of half a lime
few drops of chile oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt to taste


Over medium-high heat, dry toast the lentils, curry powder, and Tom Yum paste briefly in the bottom of your soup pot. When the curry is aromatic, add the broth, coconut milk, and greens and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the lentils are soft, probably 20 to 30 minutes.

Blend the soup until smooth and then put it back in the pot and add the remaining ingredients. Cook until the soup is warm and all tastes are balanced.

If you don't have any Tom Yum paste try adding something a bit spicy - more chile oil, chile sauce, chopped hot peppers, or another type of Thai chile paste. You want to achieve that level of spice that just pleasantly warms the back of your throat but doesn't bring tears to the eyes.

-Kymm
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Comments

Adding on to my own post:

I made a version of this soup this weekend to take over to some friends who are vegetarian. I might even like this one better - the potato and increased liquid make it almost chowdery.

1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp Tom Yum paste
2 cups red lentils
7 cups water

Cook the first 5 ingredients in the soup pot until the onions are softened then add the water. Cook until the lentils are soft.

1 or 2 boiling potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tomato, chopped
7 ounces coconut milk

Add the vegetables & coconut milk and cook for another half hour or so. Blend 4 cups of the soup and add back to the pot.

3 cups greens, I used chard & spinach, in ribbons
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
few drops chile oil
juice of one lime
salt to taste

Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for another ten minutes or so. You might need to add a bit more of the Tom Yum paste and/or lime juice at the end as the flavors tend to dull when cooked.


-posted by Kymm on Mar 26th, 2006
© 2006, Kimberly Cooperrider | kymmco@excite.com