This recipe was contributed by Julia Z one of the winners of our “Trini Spice Kit” contest that we ran in November. Congratulations Julia…Here’s what she had to say..
“The recipe that inspired me to create my 3 Spice Creamy Lentil Soup is the Lentil Pea Soup recipe from your site. Being a vegetarian, good filling soups are a staple of my diet. However, they are not always very filling. The Lentil Pea Soup was amazing, nevertheless, I found it to taste richer when cooked with a simple vegetable stock instead of water.
I made mine by boiling roughly cut unpeeled onion, carrot, 2 cloves of garlic and a celery stalk in salted water seasoned with cracked black pepper. I love coconut milk, so I replaced two cups of water with a can of coconut milk. This added creaminess and richness to the soup and also allowed me to increase the amount of spices added.
I couldn’t find green fig or cassava at my local store, so I replaced them with orange sweet potatoes that fit perfectly and matched the authentic Caribbean flavor that I wanted to achieve. I love the combination of sweet potatoes and tamarind, so I added a table spoon of tamarind concentrate to the pot.
I replaced onion with shallots, because I like their sweet pungent mildness as opposed to regular onions. I julienned the carrots instead of cutting them in chunks, that is why there were added towards the end. Half a teaspoon of sugar balanced the acidity of tamarind, soy sauce enhanced the flavors and I increased the amount of hot pepper in recipe. Last of all, a teaspoon of mild curry powder added the final touch and made my kitchen smell like heaven – a spice heaven).”
1/2 cup dried lentils
3 cups water to boil the lentils
1 1/2 cup squash
4 cups vegetable stock (home cooked or packaged)
1 can/ 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 carrot, julienned ( aka cut in long thin strips)
2 sweet potatoes
3 small shallots chopped
2 dry chili peppers crushed
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp tamarind concentrate (or 1 tsp tamarind paste)
1 tbsp low salt soy sauce (or 1/2 tbsp regular salty soy sauce)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp mild curry powder
1 tsp butter
Coriander leaves for garnish
1. Boil the lentils in 3 cups of slightly salted water for 30 minutes until they get soft. Meanwhile, bring a separate pot of water to boil and put the unpeeled whole sweet potatoes in it. Make sure that you bring the water to boil first, this will help potatoes retain their flavor. Cook for 25-30 minutes until they are cooked through, remove from water and let them cool. Once they cool, peel and chop them. Set aside.
2. When the lentils get soft, add the stock, shallots, squash, coconut milk, tamarind, tomato paste, sugar, curry, thyme, butter, soy sauce, and chilies. Stir, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the squash gets soft but not mushy.
3. Add carrots ( the thinner you cut them the faster they will cook) and chopped sweet potatoes. Stir and cook uncovered for 10-15 more minutes.
4. Try the broth and adjust the seasoning, add more spice or salt if needed.
5. Serve in bowls garnished with coriander leaves.