This is a very quick but warming and filling soup to have as a main course. Red lentils are critical because they are split and quick much faster than other lentils. They are also sold under the name Masoor Dal.
In the photo, it is served with avocado toast made with naan and sprinkled with curry.
Makes 3-4 servings
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1″ piece of ginger, peeled and very finely minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T. canola or other neutral vegetable oil
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. turmeric
1 T. double strength tomato paste (regular tomato paste can be substituted, just add 1 1/2 T.)
1 t. kosher salt (or more to taste)
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red split lentils, rinsed
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock plus 1/2 cup water or 2 1/2 cups water
1 cup of canned pumpkin (this should not be sweetened or have any ingredients except pumpkin)
3-4 shakes of hot sauce (more to taste)
1 T. red wine vinegar
2 scallions and sour cream to garnish
- Heat the oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy pot.
- Add the onion and ginger and saute for 3-4 minutes until the onion is beginning to become translucent.
- Add the garlic to the pot and saute for 1 minute more until you can smell the scent of the cooking garlic.
- Add the cumin and turmeric and stir to combine all the ingredients.
- Add tomato paste, salt, and pepper and stir to combine (it will now be a lumpy paste on the bottom of the pot).
- Add the lentils, pumpkin and the chicken stock or water to the pot and stir to combine.
- Raise the heat to medium, partially cover the soup and bring to a simmer.
- Adjust heat to keep the soup gently simmering and cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally so the bottom does not burn.
- Reduce the heat to low and vigorously whisk the soup by hand. This will break up the lentils and leave the soup with texture but not whole lentils. [For a smoother soup you can use a stick blender, but I like some texture.]
- Thinly slice the scallions.
- Place the soup in bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and scallion slices.
This is a combination of recipes I have tried over the years including ones from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Joanne Chang, and Saveur magazine. In the end, though, it is different from each of them because it reflects our family’s tastes. You can make it with or without meat added (this recipe uses ground pork, but ground turkey or shredded chicken would work equally well and vegetarian is also fine) and you can adjust the heat to your own taste.
1/2 lb. ground pork (optional)
2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
3/4″ piece of ginger, very finely minced or grated
1/4 c. smooth peanut butter
1/8 c. miso, preferably white
1/8 c. rice wine vinegar
3 T. soy sauce
1 t. toasted sesame oil or more to taste (you can also substitute regular sesame oil if that is what you have)
1 T. honey or brown sugar
1/2 to 1 t. chili paste with garlic or more(Lan Chi brand is good)
chopped peanuts (you can use either salted or unsalted depending on what you like)
1/2 lime, cut into four wedges
10 oz. package of Chinese noodles (in a pinch you can substitute pasta, such as thin spaghetti, but the curliness of Chinese noodles make for a better dish)
- In a large fry pan, brown the ground pork, if using. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
- Place a large pot of water, salted, on to boil for the noodles.
- In a large bowl (you will be adding the noodles to this so it needs to be large), mix the garlic, ginger, peanut butter, miso, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey/brown sugar.
- Add the chili paste with garlic 1/4 t. at a time until the sauce is just a little hotter than you want the dish (the noodles will dilute the heat a bit).
- Mix the drained pork (if using) into the sauce. If it seems too thick you can add a little hot water to thin it out a bit, although the moisture sticking to the noodles will also do this.
- If the peanuts are not already chopped, chop them and place in a small bowl and set aside.
- Slice the white and about 1/2 of the green of the scallions and set aside.
- Place the noodles in the boiling water and use tongs or two forks to pull them apart so they cook evenly.
- When noodles are just cooked, drain them thoroughly and add them to the bowl with the sauce and toss well.
- Serve noodles topped with a sprinkling of peanuts and scallions and a wedge of lime on the side.