Lentil Soup Method:
In a grinder or
blender, grind the cumin seed, mustard, coriander seed, and red
pepper flake. Remove the mix and set aside. It's okay if you are
missing some of these items, but try to at least have cumin.
In the same grinder,
grind up the lentils in one or more batches and set aside. NOTE:
Some imported lentils must be washed to remove stones, husks and
other inedibles. In this case, you should either completely dry
the lentils before grinding, or use a blender with a cup of water.
Heat cooking oil
on high in a medium sauce pan or a ceramic cookpot, if possible.
Turn the heat down
to medium high. Add turmeric and the freshly ground spice mixture.
Roast the spices for about a minute.
Reduce the heat
to medium. Add the ground lentils and roast for about 2 minutes.
If using, add the onions and saute for about 1 minute.
Reduce the heat
to just above low. Add the water, stir and cover partially. Let
simmer for 30 - 45 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden
spoon to prevent burning on the bottom. Add extra water a little
at a time if the consistency is too thick, then simmer for a few
more minutes. Lentils can burn very easily and ruin your pots
- not to mention stink up your place because of the high protein
content. So watch the dal carefully.
Normally, you would
not grind the lentils. However, I tried this to speed up the cooking
time and it actually worked rather well. If you do not have a
coffee/spice grinder, you can still use this recipe. In which
case, turn the heat down to low, add an extra cup of water, and
let the dal cook an extra 10-15 minutes, uncovered.
Whether you use
ground lentils or not, if you find the dal getting too thick but
the individual lentils are still hard (uncooked), add another
cup of water, stir gently, and let simmer. With lentils, until
you get the hang of them, keep tasting a spoonful at different
times until you find it has a satisfying texture. I like a very
smooth dal, while others like to use non-ground lentils that do
not fully dissolve.
When you are satisfied
with the texture of the dal, remove the pot from the heat and
sprinkle on salt and black pepper to taste.
Enjoy your freshly
made Lentil Soup!