Fragrant Lentil (Dhaal) Soup For Halal Hangovers
A rustic home-cooked lentil soup made in under 25 minutes. Eat with thickly sliced organic bread, roti (flat-bread) or croutons.
It's official. Ramadan's gone and the dead-beat evil jinnaat are back. Whhhyyyyyyyy?
Fasting in the British heat was a great challenge alhamdulillah, although the day after Eid I got a cold and looked like a squashed tomato. Whhhhhhhhhhyyyyyyyyyy?!
Then, the ultimate degradation: Despite 30 days of fasting, I gained 4 pounds. Please note, I didn't intend to make my Ramadan a weight-loss program, but usually, after having a balanced, ethical and small meal for every iftar, I tend to shed the extra blessings, y'know...
Now I look like a squashed tomato that was inflated with a balloon pump and gave up halfway, and got run over by a truck.
Alcoholics have hangovers, I have halal-hangovers. Red lentil soup (Urdu: dhaal, Hindi: Masoor dal) with potatoes and lots of ginger is my pick-me-up to becoming healthy again: Allah allowed me to have the cold and He will take it away when He wills! And I will karate-chop the extra 4lb off once I'm stable. Insha-Allah.
• 1 tablespoon olive oil or sunflower oil
• 1 cup / 120g red lentils (or brown)
• 1 chopped medium-sized tomato (keep the seeds and skin)
• 1 inch stick freshly ground ginger. I use frozen blocks of minced stem ginger, which thaw and perfume while cooking
• 1 heaped teaspoon of ground cumin seeds
• 1 heaped teaspoon of ground coriander seeds
• ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 medium-sized red potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped (red potatoes are lower in starch and their texture is ideal for soups)
• 2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves
• ½ teaspoon ground garam masala (buy in powder form or whole to grind at home)
- Boil 1 litre water. Keep on standby.
- Heat the oil in a deep pan on medium heat. Add everything to the pan except the potatoes, garam masala and fresh coriander. (Or add the ground cumin and ground coriander first without oil to lightly roast for 1-2 minutes, avoid browning; then add the rest).
- Stir and cook the ingredients for 4-5 minutes on medium-high heat until the ginger softens. Splash in a little boiled water every minute or so to prevent sticking.
- Pour enough boiled water into a pan with the potatoes to just cover them. Heat on a high temperature until the potatoes begin to break, about 9-10 mins. Drain.
- Pour the remainder boiled water (about 500ml) into the pan with lentils and ginger and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and simmer for 5 mins, stirring occasionally.
- Add the drained potatoes to the lentils. Add the fresh coriander.
- Remove from the heat and blend using a hand-held blender or food processor. Put back onto the heat for 2-3 minutes on medium-high. Turn off the heat completely.
- Sprinkle the garam masala on top, lightly stir and cover before serving. The garam masala is an intoxicating blend of spices that lend the lentil soup its deep aroma.
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