This is Lebanese style tomato soup! When my mom first told me about this recipe she had learnt at cooking class, I knew I had to try it. I normally don’t like lentils so much and the ‘dal’ my mom tries to force feed me everyday. So having given up on that, she has started making this soup often so that I have the required amount of proteins in my system. It is delicious and very nutritious. So I thought, why not try it and combine both healthy and yummy. And if it gives off a lovely fragrance in the bargain, I’m not complaining.
Anything that consists of lentils poses a challenge for me but this time the pressure cooker did all the work and they didn’t have to be soaked either! All I had to do was chop up some tomatoes and throw it together with the lentils in a pressure cooker. Blend it, but do not strain. Cook the onions and spices and add the tomato – lentil mix along with a little water. Let it simmer and take it off. Garnish, and that’s it!
Did you know that Lebanese food requires quite a bit of cumin powder just like our regular Indian home food? It’s pretty thick, so add a bit of water if you want thin soup. Also, the secret ingredient in this recipe is the sambal oelek that gives it the perfect tang. If you would like it to be spicier go ahead and add a few more green chillies!
Tomato and Red Lentil Soup, Lebanese Style
Adapted from ‘Isha’s Cuisines’
Serves 4 – 5 people
1 tbsp – olive oil (I add a bit more, just because olive oil is always good)
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly crushed
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp sambal oelek
5-6 large tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 bowl (about 100 gms) red lentils (masoor dal) – this does not need to be soaked
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
Hung yogurt and coriander leaves for the garnish
For the sambal oelek:
Grind 2 – 3 green chillies, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp sugar.
- Boil together the lentils and tomatoes in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles. ( I add a cup of water to this)
- Heat oil in a pan and add onions, garlic, spices and sambal oelek. Cook till onions are soft.
- Then add the lentil and tomato mixture along with a little water. Add the sugar and salt.
- Cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Garnish with hung yogurt and coriander leaves.