Curried Lentil Soup

Mercedes Aspland
By Mercedes Aspland / May 18, 2015

Unbelievably this is probably the first week this year where I have actually had time to fit in the things that I enjoy the most like writing this blog. All this year with work and other stuff that I have going on I have had to squeeze a post in where I can and as for cooking well I am cooking to eat but creating recipes has been a big problem for me. Luckily I had prepared this recipe some time ago and so can share it with you now.
When I am not actually sitting and writing this blog I come up with a lot of ideas of things that I want to share with you but I don’t write them down and then I sit down to do a post and my mind goes a little blank, which is a bit what my recipe creation is like at the moment which is maybe why my posts have not had as much personal stuff in them as I would have hoped for. That is not necessarily a good thing as I have recently realised how easily my mood is affected by other things that are not real. What I mean is things like the book I am reading, as an example, I just read a really sad book about strong emotions and I felt myself experiencing a lot of the same emotions. Distinguishing between what I am actually feeling inside and what is going on outside me has always been a bit of a battle for me.
This recent discovery has made me realise how much I have been neglecting my yoga practise and also my meditation practise. After becoming a teacher I have been spending a lot of time teaching and doing more studying and I found it took over and put my life a bit out of balance. As I will soon be making a big change in my life (more to come soon) I decided to give up all of my teaching jobs. I am still doing the odd cover shift if people need me but no set classes and that has definitely given me a lot more space to think. I never realised when I started on the teaching journey how much it would take out of me, it is not only on the emotional level but also the actual time it takes, for an hour long class you need to factor in the travel time and then there is the planning of the class. I do have to admit that I stopped being so obsessive about planning and started doing my classes a bit more on the fly but it still takes time to think about a general theme and have a few key poses decided on before you start.
One of the big questions I have about all of this is what have I actually learned from my time teaching? Well firstly I can say that I love teaching, I get so much out of it and enjoy the responses I get from people. I taught a number of small classes where the same people came every week and so being able to see progress was an amazing experience. Then there are the things that I need to take forward with me that include keeping space for me, worrying less about the details and only taking on what I can manage. I do want to continue teaching but I do also know that I don’t want it to be the main thing for me which is where my plans come in and I know I have been teasing you with them for a while but I promise I will be able to share them with you soon and trust me it will be worth the wait.
Ok, for someone who said they did not really have anything to say I really got into my flow there and made this post far long than I intended but hopefully you have enjoyed it. So on to the recipe and one of my all time favourites. I have adapted this recipe from a number of different and gradually perfected it and it is something that I eat on a regular basis. I have to warn you that it is quite a hot curry soup but if you want it more mild then just reduce the amount of chillies in the recipe and I am sure you get something you love.
Also I need to point out that I have used 2 different types of lentils in this recipe and if they are a problem for you then you could just use regular split red lentils but I promise the different types will improve the quality. Look out for a local Indian food supplier to see what you can pick up. I am really lucky that my local health food shop is run by an Indian family and they have such an amazing selection of lentils not to mention the spices so if you can find somewhere equally as great I am sure you will appreciate it.

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Instructions

1. Mix the dhals together in a bowl and rinse under warm water at least 4 times than set aside.
2. Grind together the whole chillies, garlic, ginger and a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle or a mini blender to make a fine masala paste.
3. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the cumin seeds and black mustard seeds and heat until the mustard seeds just begin to pop.
4. Add the chilli pieces, asafoetida and curry leave and heat for 5-10 seconds before adding the onion and turning the heat down to low.
5. Cook the onion for about 5-10 minutes or until soft and then stir in the masala paste, tomato paste, powdered spices and half the fresh coriander.
6. Heat through until the garlic smells cooked, about 2-3 minutes and then add the lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes and about 1L/4 cups water.
7. Bring to the boil then add the salt and simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked through.
8. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes for the flavours to infuse.
9. Return to the heat and warm through adding any more water, salt or chilli powder as required.
10. Serve warm with the rest of the fresh coriander.

Nutrition

This recipe is so full of good things and tastes so good as well making it a massive winner. The lentil as full of dietary fibre, some thing that most people could do with more of and they will also help to keep your blood sugar balanced. Then don’t forget the numerous health benefits of garlic, ginger, chilli and all the spices in this dish. Go on make some and fill yourself right up.

About the author

Mercedes Aspland

Mercedes is a Yoga Sports Coach with experiences working with athletes from many disciplines and experience levels. She is keen to spread the word of how valuable yoga is to sport. With additional qualifications in nutrition she also shares a number of recipes and nutritional advice to keep you fuelled while training.

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