Although made famous by Seinfeld, soup has been around even before The Soup Nazi episode. Who would have thought? Soup is both easy and cheap to cook, making it perfect for destitute students, as well as Elaine. With winter pretty much here, it’s a great meal to have for lunch, dinner, or both.
The following is a recipe for lentil soup… don’t drop the magazine at the mention of lentils, they’re actually rather pleasant, as long as you know how to cook them. They need lots of herbs and spices to make them edible. This substantial soup is almost like dhal in its consistency and flavour. In fact, if you reduced it for longer, you could eat it like a curry with rice.
If you don’t eat chicken stock, my advice would be NOT to use vegetable stock – most varieties taste like cardboard. Just use water, and make up the flavour with extra salt, pepper, and spices from the recipe.
Spicy Lentil Soup
3 T olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 eggplant, diced
2-3 t mustard powder
2-3 t ground cumin
1-2 t garam masala
0.5-1 t ground cayenne pepper
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 can tomatoes in their juice, chopped
1 L chicken stock
1 C brown/puy lentils
1 handful chopped fresh coriander (don’t worry if you don’t have fresh coriander, just leave it out!)
Plain yoghurt for garnish
Dice the eggplant, sprinkle with salt and place in a colander/sieve for 20 minutes, to draw the moisture out. Rinse and pat dry.
Heat oil in a large saucepan, and fry onion and garlic until soft. Add eggplant and spices and fry for a further minute.
Add tomatoes, stock and lentils. Simmer for 40 minutes, until lentils are soft and the soup is thick. Before serving, add the chopped coriander and adjust herbs and spices to taste. Serve with toast or naan bread, and a dollop of yoghurt.
Makes 4 large serves.