Lemony Lentil and Crispy Kale Soup
I love this simple soup, which is somewhere between a dhal and a soup – it reminds me of the curry that is served in southern India with dosas. This soup is cleansing and clean, thanks to being spiked with turmeric and a lot of lemon. It’s what I crave if I’ve over-indulged or been around food too long (an occupational hazard – a very nice one).
Turmeric is a favourite spice of mine. If I am feeling off-colour I stir a teaspoon into hot water and sip it as a reviving tonic. I love the vibrant, deep saffron-gold colour, the clean, sharp, savoury acid note and the hard- to-put-your-finger-on flavour. It’s a real star on the health front, as it is an anti-inflammatory and has anti-carcinogenic properties. What a spice.
a splash of olive or rapeseed oil
1 leek, washed, trimmed and finely sliced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
juice of 2–3 lemons
250g split red lentils
1 veg stock cube, or 1 tablespoon veg stock powder
4 handfuls of kale (or other greens), washed, trimmed and shredded
To serve (optional)
yoghurt, stirred with a little sea salt
Get a large pan on the heat. Add a little oil and turn the heat to medium. Add the leek and fry for a few minutes, until it has softened and smells sweet, then add the spices and fry for another couple of minutes. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon and stir around to lift all the spices from the bottom of the pan.
Next, add the lentils, 1.5 litres of water and the stock cube or powder and allow to bubble away for 20–35 minutes, until the lentils are cooked and the soup has thickened.
Turn off the heat and, if you like, you can blitz the whole lot to a thin dhal consistency, then squeeze in the juice of the remaining 2 lemons, tasting as you go to make sure it doesn’t get too lemony. It may seem like a lot, but you really want the lemony tang to come through.
Just before you’re ready to serve, sauté the kale in a little olive oil until it slightly softens but begins to crisp at the edges.
Ladle into bowls and top with the salted yoghurt and the crispy kale.
Image: Brian W Ferry