Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lentil, pumpkin & curry soup

There are two kinds of people when it comes to food.  Those who always order the same dish -- because they find it delicious, go to the same restaurant - because it's their favorite, or use the same recipes -- because they were tested out a million times, can't go wrong and taste great.  Monotonous, but safe - you always get want you want and hit the bullseye.  But there are also those who decide to go for new things -- exploring new dishes and restaurants in the hopes of discovering something extraordinary. Adventurous, but risky.

I'm definitely the second kind.  I rarely order the same thing twice, and love hunting for new dishes and places.  Can't remember how many times that attitude backfired!  When I just had to order this blanched spinach salad, while I knew this was risky, and could have been having the good old tested out tortellini.  Result: staring sadly at the disgusting mush on my plate instead of enjoying my meal.  But you have to be prepared to loose, if you want to win.  And there have been plenty of time when the gamble payed off :-)

This soup is a good example that experimenting is totally worth it.  I have been making this dish for a few years, after I got the recipe from my friend Julia.  The soup always turned out perfectly -- it was literally the best soup I ever had.  And you can't improve perfection, can you?  Well it turns out you can :-)  

I decided to experiment a bit, and replaced one of the key ingredients (sweet potatoes) with pumpkin.  I was a bit afraid it would ruin it all -- but took the risk.  Result: perfection improved! 

This soup is creamy and rich, with the earthy taste of lentils, sweetness of the pumpkin and heat of curry.  Finished off with smooth coconut milk, a touch of lime juice and the defined taste of fresh coriander.  I am not kidding people -- THIS REALLY IS THE BEST SOUP EVER!  A must-have during these cold and gray winter evenings.


Makes 4 (small) portions


  • 400 g of pumpkin
  • 1,5 cup of dry lentils (I used green ones)
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 large onion or two medium ones 
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Can of coconut milk
  • 1/2-1 lime
  • Curry powder (mild or hot depending on how spicy you like your food)
  • Fresh cilantro (unfortunately I only had basil, but that works too -- though cilantro is much better) 
  • Olive oil
  • Bouillon powder/cubes (I used bio & vegetarian)
  • Salt
  • Goat's milk yoghurt (optional)
  • Peel the onion(s) and garlic cloves, and roughly chop them.  Put in a bit pan with some olive oil, and fry until golden.  Add 2-3 teaspoons of curry powder and keep on frying for a minute -- watch out as the curry likes to burn, so you have to keep stirring.
  • Add the dry lentils (I rarely let them soak beforehand, just because I'm lazy) and about 600 ml of boiling water.  Season with bouillon powder (follow package instructions for the amount of water you used).  Let simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Peel the pumpkin and potatoes and roughly chop them.  Add to the lentils (you may need to add some water, so that all veggies are covered), and boil until everything is soft.
  • Take the pan off the heat and blend with a hand blender until you get a smooth, but thick texture (you can leave some small chunks if you like).
  • Bring back to the heat (very low heat though), add coconut milk and season with lime juice, salt, bouillon powder or curry, to taste.
  • Serve with chopped cilantro, lime wedges and (optionally) a dollop of goat's milk yoghurt.

Bon appetit!


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