The fragrant but subtle tones of the spices and herbs make this soup incredibly moreish. I love the natural vibrant orange red colour which is bright enough to make a dull winters day just a whole lot better. The coconut milk tones the sharpness of the chillies to the right level of spiciness. The creamy texture of the cooked lentils adds to the rich and silky texture of the soup.
The magical ingredient that I have used in this recipe is the homemade tandoori paste. This tandoori paste recipe is very easy to make and is natural and versatile. I normally make a large batch of the paste and freeze it in ice cube trays, once frozen pop the cubes out in to a freezer bag and use them as required. This way the fresh spices and herbs remain fresh and pungent and you always have a magical natural ingredient to hand. This spice mix is strong and concentrated therefore you require only a small amount to give extra flavour and depth to your cooking. To use the remaining tandoori paste defrost the frozen cubes and mix with equal quantities of natural yoghurt and use it as a marinade for fish or meat.
Ingredients & Method
For the Homemade Tandoori Paste
- 80g fresh coriander
- 100g fresh ginger, peeled
- 2 lemons, zest grated and juiced
- 50g cumin seeds
- 50g mild paprika
- 4 fresh large red chillies, de-seeded
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 250g tomato puree
- 2tsp salt
- 1tsp freshly cracked black pepper
For the Tandoori Spiced Red Lentil Soup
- 80g homemade tandoori paste
- 50g tomato puree
- 50g sunflower oil
- 400g tinned diced tomatoes
- 250g coconut milk
- 150g dried red lentils
- 200g carrots, peeled and 10mm diced
- 200g celery, 10mm diced
- 200g banana shallots 10mm diced
- 1 large red chilli de-seeded and sliced
- salt and pepper
- 600ml vegetable or white chicken stock
First prepare the tandoori spice mix. Wash the coriander, peel the ginger and garlic. Gently toast the cumin seeds in a hot pan over high heat for a minute or two, cool the toasted cumin seeds before using.
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until a smooth paste. The tandoori paste is now ready to be used (see cooks notes).
Heat a large saucepan with the oil over medium heat. Sauté the diced carrots, shallots and celery with seasoning. Cook until the vegetables become transparent but not coloured about 8 minutes.
Add the sliced red chilli, tandoori paste and tomato puree, cook for 3 minutes, add the dried red lentils and stir.
Add the tinned diced tomatoes and the stock, bring the soup to the boil, turn the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid.
Simmer the soup for 40 minutes over low heat, stir occasionally.
Add the coconut milk, turn the heat to high, bring the soup back to the boil and cook for 10 minutes.
Use a ladle and spoon a third of the hot soup in to a food processor or a thermomix and puree until smooth, add this back to the soup and stir.
Serve the soup garnished with cooked red lentils mixed with sliced spring onions and fresh basil.
The Tandoori paste makes a large quantity more than required for the soup, freeze the rest of the paste. Fill clean ice cube tray and freeze the tandoori paste. Once frozen remove the ice cubes and place them in a freezer bag until needed.
As this paste is a strong concentrate you do not need a lot of it. If you want to marinade chicken, meat or fish mix equal quantities of the paste with natural yoghurt, mix well and spread submerge the protein in the marinade, leave for a minimum of 6 hours before use for best results. Ideal for lamb, beef, chicken, goat, fish, duck, partridge, pheasant.