Indian Lentil Soup with Fresh Fenugreek & Harissa Spiced Tomatoes


Indian Lentil Soup with Fresh Fenugreek & Tomatoes


2 1/2 cups lentils 

1 medium onion - diced

8 carrots - sliced 

3 celery stalks - sliced

3 inch piece of fresh ginger - peeled & diced fine - or several TBS of jarred minced ginger

2 tomatoes diced

2 large jalapenos - seeded & diced (less or none if you don't like spicy food)

1 bunch fresh fenugreek (optional) - leaves removed & chopped (alternative - use celery leaves or watercress - or none of them)

6 garlic cloves (or less) - diced fine

2 tsp salt

1 TBS ground pepper

2 TBS curry powder (I used red curry powder but any variation is fine)

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS Harissa (spicy!) OR 1 TBS ground red chili powder (or less if you hate spice)

3 TBS Ghee or oil or butter or combination

1 tsp asafetida (optional) or 1 tsp either garlic or onion powder or a combo

1 TBS cumin SEEDS

1 TBS fenugreek SEEDS (optional)

1 tsp harissa OR 1 tsp red chili powder (yes, in addition)

fresh cilantro


Rinse the lentils pick out any bits or twigs or foreign matter you may see.   I used 7 cups of water to my 2.5 cups lentils - but you might be using a lentil that needs more - or less.  Just add water as needed to keep them covered in moisture.  Bring to a boil then lower the flame, add the chopped FRESH fenugreek leaves (or watercress or celery leaves) - if using - cover & simmer for as long as your lentil packaging suggests for doneness.  Stir occasionally & be sure your water doesn't boil away.

While the lentils simmer - chop & dice & prepare all the ingredients that require that. 

Heat 3 TBS of ghee or oil or butter & add onion, garlic, ginger, celery, jalapenos, curry powder, turmeric & 1 TBS harissa or red chili powder.  Stir for a minute then add carrots.  Stir another minute.  Add all this to your simmering lentils and return the empty pan to the heat.  Add 2 more TBS of ghee (or oil or butter) and when hot add the cumin seeds & the asafetida & fenugreek SEEDS (if using) and 1 tsp of additional harissa/red chili powder (if using).  Once the cumin starts popping (this happens pretty fast - less than a minute) - add the chopped tomatoes.  Be careful - as the oil will spit at you when you add the wet tomatoes.  Saute these for 2-3 minutes - until the tomatoes soften.  Add all this to the simmering lentils.

Add the S&P (more or less to taste).  

Simmer just until the carrots & lentils are tender.  Add more water if needed throughout this recipe or cook off broth you feel may be in excess.  Serve with fresh chopped cilantro.