Spicy spinach dhal soup with yogurt

  • for 4 people
  • Takes 30 minutes to prepare. Freeze for up to 1 month, then defrost for 24 hours and reheat for 5 minutes
  • Easy
Serve this Indian-style soup with some warm grilled naan bread spread with garlic butter. An ideal recipe to make in advance then freeze.

Nutritional info per serving

Per serving: 369kcals, 16.1g fat (1.6g saturated), 18.3g protein, 41.6g carbs, 7.6g sugar, 1.6g salt

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225g dried red lentils
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2.5cm piece fresh ginger, grated
1 medium-hot red chilli, deseeded and chopped, plus extra to garnish, if you like
1 medium-hot green chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
300ml vegetable stock, hot
200g can chopped tomatoes
Good pinch of cayenne pepper
100ml coconut cream
100g baby leaf spinach, to serve
20g bunch fresh coriander, to serve
6 tbsp natural yogurt, to serve


1. Put the lentils into a medium saucepan and cover with 900ml of cold water. Bring to the boil, skimming off the scum as it rises to the surface, and leave to simmer for 10 minutes, until tender and just falling apart. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in another pan, add the onion and fry gently for 15 minutes, until browned. Reduce the heat, add the garlic, ginger and chillies and fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the spices and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes.
3. Add the stock, the lentils and their liquid, canned tomatoes, cayenne pepper and season with salt to taste. Cover and simmer for just 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool slightly, then add the coconut cream. Blend, using a hand blender or in batches in a liquidiser, until the soup is almost smooth. Transfer to a rigid plastic container and leave to cool. Cover, label and freeze until required.
4. Remove the soup from the freezer. You can now either leave it to thaw in the fridge for 24 hours, then transfer it to a saucepan the next day, or remove from the freezer on the day, run the base of the plastic container briefly under warm water and transfer it to a saucepan while still frozen. Cover and leave over a low heat until thawed. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the spinach and most of the coriander leaves and cook for a further minute. Using a hand blender, blend briefly until the spinach is just roughly chopped.
5. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish each with a spoonful of yogurt, the remaining coriander leaves and some finely chopped red chilli, if you like.

From January 2006

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