Indian Lentil Curry Soup

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Indian lentil curry soup is a harmonious blend of vibrant spices and tender lentils, simmered together to create a deeply flavorful and comforting dish. Its rich aroma and hearty texture make it a beloved staple in both traditional and modern kitchens, offering a nourishing meal that warms the soul.

black lentil soup with cilantro and lime
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Spicy Savory Indian Lentil Curry Soup

Indian lentil curry soup is a vegan delight, offering a burst of flavors and textures that can impress any dinner table, especially for a family seeking wholesome plant-based options. Its rich, aromatic base, teeming with spices like turmeric, cumin, and coriander, infuses the tender lentils with a depth of flavor that’s both comforting and invigorating. Each bowl is a testament to the versatility of vegan cuisine, proving that plant-based dishes can be hearty, satisfying, and full of complex flavors.

The soup’s vibrant hues and the inviting aroma create an irresistible appeal, making it a perfect centerpiece for a family meal. Accompanied by a side of fluffy rice or warm naan bread, it offers a complete and nourishing meal that caters to all ages. Indian lentil curry soup not only delights the palate but also brings warmth and joy to vegan dinners, embodying the essence of family-friendly comfort food.

How to Make Lentil Indian Soup

First assemble the following ingredients:

  • Red Lentils (2 cups) – Red lentils are the heart of the soup, lending a creamy texture and a subtly sweet flavor that forms the base of this nourishing dish.
  • Vegetable Broth (4 cups) – The vegetable broth provides a rich, savory foundation, enhancing the depth and complexity of the soup’s flavors.
  • Ghee (1 tablespoon) – Ghee adds a hint of nutty richness, bringing a layer of indulgent flavor that beautifully complements the earthiness of the lentils.
  • Cumin Seeds (1 teaspoon) – Toasted cumin seeds offer a warm, earthy aroma with a slight citrus undertone, infusing the soup with their distinctive spicy-sweet character.
  • Paprika (1/2 teaspoon) – Paprika contributes a sweet and smoky essence, imparting a vibrant color and a gentle warmth that elevates the dish’s overall taste profile.
  • Coriander Powder (1 teaspoon) – Coriander powder brings a lemony-sweet flavor that balances the spice blend, adding a hint of freshness to the robust soup.
  • Sea Salt (1/2 tsp) – A pinch of sea salt is crucial for enhancing all the intricate flavors, ensuring that each spoonful of soup is perfectly seasoned.
  • Cilantro – Fresh cilantro garnish introduces a burst of citrusy, herbal brightness, adding a final touch of freshness that complements the soup’s rich flavors.

Use this Method

Cook lentils. Add lentils, broth and salt to a pressure cooker. Cook till the lentils are cooked through and can be mashed easily between two fingers, about 20 – 25 minutes. Alternatively, you can also boil the lentils in broth if you don’t have a pressure cooker.

Heat Spices and Combine. In a small saucepan or skillet, heat ghee/butter/oil. Add cumin seeds and once they start spluttering, switch off the flame. Add coriander powder and paprika and swirl once or twice. Pour this over the lentil curry soup and top with chopped cilantro. Serve hot.

black lentil soup with cilantro and lime

Tips and Tricks for Making Indian Lentil Curry Soup

Choose the Right Lentils: Different lentils offer varying textures and cooking times. For a creamy soup, use red or yellow lentils as they break down easily and create a smooth consistency.

Rinse and Soak Lentils: Rinse lentils thoroughly to remove any debris and soak them for a few hours before cooking. This reduces cooking time and makes them easier to digest.

Toast the Spices: Dry-roasting spices before grinding them releases their essential oils and maximizes their flavor. Consider spices like cumin, coriander, and mustard seeds for an authentic taste.

Use a Base of Aromatics: Start your soup by sautéing a base of finely chopped onions, garlic, and ginger. This foundational step builds a deep flavor profile.

Incorporate Fresh Tomatoes: Adding fresh, ripe tomatoes after the aromatics have softened introduces acidity and sweetness, balancing the earthiness of the lentils.

Slow Simmer: Let the soup simmer gently after adding the lentils and water or broth. A slow cook allows the flavors to meld together and the lentils to become tender.

Adjust Consistency: Depending on your preference for thickness, you can adjust the amount of liquid. Add more water or broth for a thinner soup or let it simmer uncovered to reduce and thicken.

Season Properly: Don’t forget to season your soup with salt and adjust as needed. Salt elevates all the other flavors in the dish.

Finish with Acid and Fresh Herbs: A splash of lemon juice or tamarind paste just before serving can brighten the dish. Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley for a pop of color and freshness.

Incorporate Greens: For an extra nutritional boost, stir in some spinach, kale, or other leafy greens during the last few minutes of cooking.

Serve with Garnishes: Offer a variety of garnishes like diced red onions, lemon wedges, chopped cilantro, or yogurt to allow everyone to customize their bowl.

Experiment with Creaminess: For a richer texture, consider stirring in a spoonful of coconut milk or cream towards the end of cooking.

FAQs

What type of lentils should I use for Indian lentil curry soup?

For Indian lentil curry soup, red or yellow lentils (Masoor Dal or Moong Dal) are typically preferred due to their quick cooking time and creamy texture when cooked. They also have a mild flavor that absorbs the spices well.

Do I need to soak the lentils before cooking?

Soaking lentils is not strictly necessary, especially for red or yellow lentils, which cook relatively quickly. However, soaking can help reduce cooking time and improve digestibility. If you choose to soak, 30 minutes to an hour is usually sufficient.

How can I make my lentil curry soup more flavorful?

Toasting the spices before adding them to the soup can enhance their flavor. Also, sautéing a base of aromatics like onions, garlic, and ginger until golden brown before adding the other ingredients can add depth to the dish. Finishing the soup with a splash of lemon juice or a handful of fresh cilantro can also boost its flavor profile.

Can I make this soup in a slow cooker or Instant Pot?

Yes, lentil curry soup adapts well to both slow cookers and Instant Pots. For a slow cooker, combine all ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. In an Instant Pot, cook under high pressure for about 10-15 minutes with a natural release.

Is Indian lentil curry soup vegan-friendly?

Indian lentil curry soup is naturally vegan if you use water or vegetable broth as the base and avoid garnishes like yogurt or cream. Coconut milk can be a great vegan alternative for adding creaminess to the soup.

How long can I store leftover lentil curry soup?

Leftover lentil curry soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. It also freezes well for up to 3 months. Just be sure to let it cool completely before storing and leave some room for expansion in the freezer.

My soup is too spicy, how can I fix it?

If your soup is too spicy, adding a bit of coconut milk, yogurt, or cream can help mellow the heat. Alternatively, you can increase the quantity of the soup by adding more lentils and broth, which will dilute the spiciness.

black lentil soup with cilantro and lime

What to Enjoy with Lentil Curry

Basmati Rice: The light, fluffy texture of basmati rice makes it an ideal base for absorbing the rich flavors of lentil curry.

Naan Bread: Soft and pillowy, naan is perfect for scooping up curry and lends a nice textural contrast.

Roti or Chapati: These whole wheat flatbreads are a healthier alternative to naan and add a rustic touch to the meal.

Cucumber Raita: A cooling yogurt-based condiment with cucumber and herbs to balance the spice levels of the curry.

Mango Chutney: The sweet and tangy flavors of mango chutney complement the earthy tones of lentils beautifully.

Pickled Vegetables: Adding a bit of acidity and crunch, pickled vegetables can enhance the overall flavor profile.

Green Salad: A simple green salad with a lemony vinaigrette can add freshness and lighten up the meal.

Roasted Vegetables: Roasted veggies like cauliflower, carrots, and bell peppers add a smoky depth to the meal. Also try roasted asparagus!

Papadums: These crispy lentil crackers are great for adding texture and can be used for scooping up the curry.

Achar (Indian Pickles): Spicy and tangy, Indian pickles can add a bold flavor punch to each bite.

try these other vegan recipes:

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black lentil soup with cilantro and lime

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A bowl of Indian lentil soup with a spoon and lime.
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Indian Lentil Curry Soup

Easy, quick Indian Lentil Curry Soup with ingredients easily available in your pantry!
Course soups
Cuisine Indian
Keyword curry, indian food, lentil soup, main dish, side dish, stew, vegan, vegan soup
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 413kcal
Author Courtney ODell

Ingredients

  • 2 cups red lentils uncooked
  • 4 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee/Butter/Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • ½ teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Chopped Cilantro for topping

Instructions

  • Add lentils, broth and salt to a pressure cooker. Cook till the lentils are cooked through and can be mashed easily between two fingers, about 20 – 25 minutes. Alternatively, you can also boil the lentils in broth if you don't have a pressure cooker.
  • In a small saucepan or skillet, heat ghee/butter/oil. Add cumin seeds and once they start spluttering, switch off the flame. Add coriander powder and paprika and swirl once or twice. Pour this over the lentil curry soup and top with chopped cilantro. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 413kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 965mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 3g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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1 Comment

  1. Scott says:

    Beautiful photography of the dishes. Makes me want to make them.