Tomato Red Lentil Comforter, to Stave Off Chills of Winter
Posted May 14 2009 5:01pm
Here is a really nourishing soup for the long cold winter nights; its very goodness seems to warm up your tummy and your body. I fell in love with this soup the very first time I made it.
Lentils are obtained as legumes that grow in pods from annual plants; lentils are nothing but split legumes. They come in various colors - black, green, red, yellow. They can be of uniform hue or speckled, enhancing their beauty, though finally cooked lentils are all yellow or cream in color. They also come in various sizes and shapes which adds to their colorful appearance. Growth of these plants have been concentrated in the Middle East and Asian countries. They are all legumes and each seed or bean has a distinct flavor.
Lentils are a great source of plant protein, including essential amino acids lysine and isoleucine. Lysine is necessary for calcium absorption and collagen formation, required in connective tissues.
Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant. They are rich in vitamins. It is intriguing to learn that this versatile vegetable, used in well-loved recipes such as soups and sauces was actually thought to be poisonous as late as the early 19th century. This was because the tomato plant is related to a genus of plants that were found to be poisonous such as belladona.
I don't regularly use red lentil (masoor dal); it is more expensive compared to the regular dals such as toor dal and moong dal. But it so happened that I had some in stock in my kitchen and I was very pleased to make this particular nourishing and low-calorie recipe.
This was how it went:
I finely chopped one large onion and roughly chopped up five large tomatoes. In a pressure cooker, I heated a spoon of oil and fried the onions till translucent. I then added the tomatoes and stirred a bit.
I measured three-fourth of a cup of red lentils, washed and transferred them into the pressure cooker. Stirring this, I added three to four cubes of vegetable stock that I had stored in my freezer earlier this week. I added requisite water and allowed this to pressure cook upto one whistle, on medium heat. Red lentils cook pretty quickly.
Allowing this to cool to room temperature, I transferred the contents of the pressure cooker to my blender and pureed it till smooth. I transferred this to another pan and allowed it to boil after adding enough water to give the desired consistency. To this I added salt, pepper and a sprinkle of dried sage. Parsley can be added instead, if preferred.
I allowed this to boil. Garnish can be either with cream or with croutons, though we had the soup plain. We had this for dinner with a side of toasted wheat bread.