Black Lentil Soup

This earthy lentil soup is Rajat Parr's take on dal, the Indian side dish . He gives it unexpected richness by whisking in butter just before serving.

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  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 cup black lentils (6 ounces)
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced, plus 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • Salt

How to make this recipe

  1. In a pot, cover the lentils, cardamom and sliced ginger with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the lentils start to soften, about 10 minutes. Drain the lentils and transfer to a bowl; discard the cardamom and ginger.

  2. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in the pot. Add the onion, garlic and minced ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne and garam masala and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 4 minutes.

  3. Add the stock, tomatoes and lentils to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer over moderate heat until the lentils are softened and the soup has thickened, about 1 hour. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and season with salt. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Parr looks to Beaujolais for an excellent partner to this soup; given the right producer and vineyard, he says, the wine can transcend its ho-hum reputation and be truly great.

Contributed By Photo © Anna Williams Published November 2009

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