I love a good soup of lentils, but I don’t think I’d ever thought to pair their meaty earthiness with the sweet, soft flesh of winter squash. This version was especially appealing for its use of fresh ginger and spices — cumin, coriander, turmeric — and I had just about everything I needed to make it.
I thought I’d be clever and use lentils of three different colors; in the end they all turned the same shade of brown.
What little I know about ayurvedic cuisine is that it’s strictly vegetarian, but I took the liberty of using the super fragrant fish stock I’d made the day before, using the bones and head of a roasted sea bream purchased at Terroirs d’Avenir’s sustainably-sourced fish stall on the increasingly foodie-friendly rue du Nil.
Another change I made to the original recipe was in fact inspired by the stock photo that illustrated it: the tell-tale milky sheen indicated the use of coconut milk, which the recipe itself didn’t include, yet I knew it would make the soup even tastier.
I also thought I’d be clever and use lentils of three different colors, green, pink, and yellow. In the end they all turned the same shade of green-brown, but I’m certain the variety of textures had a hand in making this the most wowing soup I’ve made in a while.
Join the conversation!
Have you ever dabbled at ayurvedic cooking? And what’s been your winner soup recipe this winter?
* Coincidentally, I see that Nadya Andreeva is just releasing a book this week, called Happy Belly.
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely minced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- a 3-cm (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 900 grams (2 pounds) butternut squash, seeded, peeled, and diced into 1,5-cm (1/2") pieces (you can substitute another type of winter squash, such as red kuri, acorn, or delicata)
- 320 grams (1 1/2 cups) lentils (any color you like or have on hand), soaked 8 hours or overnight, drained, and rinsed
- 500 ml (2 cups) stock, preferably homemade (vegetable, chicken, or fish stock will all work)
- 180 ml (3/4 cup) coconut milk
- fresh mint, finely minced, or fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, for serving
- chili sauce, for serving (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, garlic, and salt, and cook over medium heat until softened, stirring regularly.
- Stir in the ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and fennel seeds, and cook for a minute, until fragrant.
- Add in the butternut squash and lentils, pour in the stock, and add in enough water to cover.
- Cover, bring to a simmer, and skim the froth that appears at the surface. Cook for 30 minutes, until the squash and lentils are cooked through.
- Stir in the coconut milk, taste, and adjust the seasoning.
- Ladle into bowls, top with fresh herbs, and serve with chili sauce.
Adapted from a recipe by Nadya Andreeva.