Orange lentils are not only pretty but are also very nutritious .Cooking with lentils is easy and it is a great way to get your intake of protein and iron in one meal. Lentils contain a potent iron inhibitor called phytic acid which reduces the body’s ability to absorb iron. Phytic acid can be reduced by soaking the lentils overnight in warm water and paring with a citrus like lemon or tomato while cooking. A cup of cooked lentils provide nearly 1/3 of daily iron requirements in women. Orange lentils turn bright yellow when cooked, but gain back some of the original color when cooked with tomatoes and lemon.
Anu, my sister-in-law shared this lentil soup recipe with me couple of days ago and I decided to make it right away because its simple and perfect for winter. Anu is based out of Berlin, Germany and conducts a program for locals in Indian cooking. Her classes start with a shopping trip to the Indian market in Berlin for spices and other ingredients after which she teaches them how to cook simple, nutritious meals and ends with a fabulous 5 course plated dinner paired with the right type of wine. If you are in Berlin or visiting the place and interested in learning to cook delicious Indian food, please send her an email at cookwithanu at gmail dot com. This Orange lentil soup is bursting with flavors from fresh ginger and garlic paste, onions and tomatoes.The measurements given in the recipe yield 6-8 servings. We liked ours paired with papad( a thin, crisp Indian cracker).
1 cup/250 grams orange lentils, cooked and pureed
2 medium sized onions ground to a paste
4 medium sized ripe tomatoes pureed
2 teaspoons fresh ginger paste
2 teaspoons fresh garlic paste
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, dry roasted and ground to a fine powder
1/4 teaspoon asafetida powder
1 tablespoon sunflower oil ( I used olive oil)
1 tablespoon clarified butter/ghee
juice from 1 big lemon
handful of finely chopped cilantro leaves
fresh ground black pepper
1. Heat oil and clarified butter/ghee in a saucepan. When oil is hot, add roasted cumin seeds powder and sauté for 30 seconds.
2. Add onion, garlic, ginger paste and asafetida powder and cook till raw smell goes away. This step takes about 5-7 minutes on medium flame.
3. Add tomato puree and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add pureed lentils, salt and mix well.
5. Add 3 cups of water so it attains a soupy consistency. Cook on medium flame for 10 minutes stirring continuously.
6. Add lemon juice and let it simmer for few minutes.
7. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and add pepper according to your desired spice level.