- 3 red chillies (see tip below)
- 3 tbsp oil (cold-pressed rapeseed oil or light olive oil)
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 3 carrots, chopped into bite-size pieces
- 2 celery sticks, chopped into small bite-size pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 300g dried green or brown lentils, washed, soaked in water for 30 minutes, then drained
- 1.5 litres hot vegetable stock (we like Knorr)
- 100g broccoli florets or baby broccoli
- 2 handfuls spinach leaves
- Juice ½ lemon
- 4 tbsp Greek yogurt to serve
- Start by roasting 2 of the chillies. If you have a gas hob, put a wire rack over the flames and roast the chillies on top until blistered and black. If not, char them under a very hot grill. Keep turning the chillies so they colour evenly. This should take about 5 minutes. Put in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to cool.
- While the chillies are roasting, start the soup. Gently heat 2 tbsp oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions for about 10 minutes until light golden brown. Remove half and set aside. Cook the onions left in the pan for 5 minutes more or until deep golden brown and crisp. (These are for sprinkling over at the end.) Remove from the pan and reserve.
- Pour the remaining tablespoon of oil into the pan and add the bay leaves and cumin seeds. Put the softened onions back in (that’s the first set you took out of the pan), then add the garam masala, carrots, celery, garlic and lentils. Peel the charred skin off the roasted chillies, roughly chop (with or without the seeds – including them will make the soup more spicy), then add to the pan. Stir well and cook for 5 minutes before adding the hot stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes or until the carrots and lentils have softened.
- Remove from the heat, take out the bay leaves, then whizz briefly using a stick blender – I like the soup to have some texture.
- Put it back on the heat and add the broccoli. After 2 minutes, stir in the spinach and turn off the heat. Add most of the lemon juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
A recipe from Secrets from My Indian Family Kitchen by Anjali Pathak (£12.99; Mitchell Beazley)
- “Soups are the ultimate comfort food. I’ve made this dish hundreds of times and it never fails to hit the spot. Use any vegetables you like, and lentils to add some body. Because I love chillies I’m adding them in two ways – roasted and fresh – but you don’t need to roast them if you don’t want to.” -Anjali Pathak
- Make to the end of step 4 up to 4 days ahead and keep in an airtight container in the fridge, or freeze for up to 1 month. Reheat, then continue from step 5.
- Alsace pinot blanc, appley, fresh but not too brightly fruity, is the best wine here.