Recently I cooked Indian food for the first time. I knew it would be the first of many dishes. What I didn’t know was how soon it would be before I made the next one. It was shortly after I made Moong Beans when an Indian cookbook arrived in the mail. How great! I looked through Easy Indian Cooking by Suneeta Vaswani and spotted the next recipe for me to try: Yellow Lentil Soup with Vegetables.
Why did I choose this soup? There were a couple of reasons. One is because at the same time I bought the green mung/moong beans I also got yellow lentils. The color was so nice and different than other ones I had seen before. They have been sitting in my pantry waiting to be cooked. The soup calls for yellow lentils and that made it a prime choice. The other reason is there was a recent drop in temperature. Waking up to a chilly morning put me in the mood for soup.
How is the soup? It is done in about an hour and a half and tastes as if it was simmered all day. The spices and flavors come together nicely. Turmeric, cumin, and a touch of cayenne give it a warmth I find in many Indian dishes. The vegetables give even more flavor and texture. The soup is not spicy unless you decide to increase the cayenne or add in peppers. Be sure to watch the pot when cooking the lentils at the beginning. They soak up the water and can easily stick to the bottom. Only cook them until they are done (mushy).
About the cookbook: It is the second edition with 30 new recipes not included in the 2004 edition. There are 8 additional photos also. The easy-to-prepare recipes are for beginners and experienced home cooks alike. The recipes are from both northern and southern India plus the author’s personal favorites. There is an introduction with common ingredients, spices and herbs, hints and tips, and basic techniques. There is a wide range of recipes from beverages, snacks, mains, sides, chutneys, desserts, and more.
Do I recommend this cookbook? Yes. It is a great resource for anyone wanting to tackle cooking Indian cuisine. The recipes are well laid out with detailed instructions. The photography is wonderful. Note there is not a photo for each recipe.
Are you ready to cook Indian food? It’s easy to get started with this cookbook. You can purchase it directly from Amazon by clicking on the photo (affiliate link):
Yellow Lentil Soup with Vegetables
- 1 cup yellow lentils toor dal
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 cup chopped tomato
- 1 cup cubed potato
- 1 cup sliced carrot 1/4-inch thick slices
- 8 green beans cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 1/2 cups steamed rice
- 1/3 cup cilantro chopped
- Lemon wedges
Clean and pick through lentils for any small stones and grit. Rinse several times in cold water until water is fairly clear.
Drain and transfer lentils to a large saucepan. Add 3 cups water and soak for 10 minutes. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium heat, skimming froth off surface. Cook, partially covered, until dal is soft and mushy, about 30 minutes. Purée in blender or using immersion blender, or whisk vigorously to batter-like consistency.
Return to pan. Stir in another 3 cups water and turmeric. Add tomato, potato, carrot, green beans, cayenne pepper and salt. Cover and return to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds. Sauté until cumin is fragrant and a shade darker, about 30 seconds. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add onion and cook until golden, about 10 minutes.
Pour mixture into dal and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
Place 2 to 3 tablespoons rice in each bowl. Top with dal and vegetable mixture. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.
Recipe ©copyright 2004, 2013 Suneeta Vaswani from the Easy Indian Cooking Second Edition cookbook. Used with permission by Robert Rose Inc.
Disclosures: I received a copy of the Easy Indian Cooking Second Edition cookbook at no charge from the publisher, Robert Rose Inc. I was under no obligation to give a positive review. All opinions are my own unless otherwise stated or contained within a guest post. This post contains affiliate links.