1 T. neutral oil (canola, etc.)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1″ piece of ginger, grated or very finely chopped
1 ½ t. cumin seeds (substitute cumin powder if you don’t have seeds – but if using powder add it to the soup with the coriander, turmeric, and garam masala)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. ground coriander
1 t. garam masala, divided into two ½ t. to use in soup and in topping
¼ t. tumeric powder
½ t. smoked paparika or medium spicy chile powder
¾ cup crushed tomatoes
½ t. kosher salt (make this 1 t. if using water or your stock is very low sodium)
1 cup black lentils, (preferably Rancho Gordo caviar lentils, if you can get them, but any black or small green French lentils will work), rinsed and picked over. NOTE: brown lentils will become mushy in this soup and so are not a good choice.
4 cups low sodium chicken stock (you can use water if you prefer)
1 cup water (hold in reserve)
3 T. greek yogurt
3 T. sour cream
2 scallions white and part of green thinly slices
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the onion and cumin seed and stir occasionally until the onion is soft and beginning to turn golden.
- Add the garlic and ginger and stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Cook for another minute or so.
- Add the coriander, ½ t. garam masala, tumeric, and chili powder or smoked paprika and mix to distribute.
- Add the chicken stock and salt, than add the lentils. Stir. Bring the soup to a simmer then cover and reduce heat to low.
- Cook until lentils are tender (about 30 minutes). If, at any point, the soup looks too dry, add some of the reserved water. The soup should be thick, but not as thick as a stew or sauce.
- While the soup is simmering, mix together the yogurt, sour cream, and ½ t. garam masala.
- When serving the soup, top with a generous tablespoon of the yogurt-sour cream mixture and sprinkle with slices scallions.