Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Garam Masala

So, it's a week into April, and this is what I woke up to yesterday morning-- fresh snow.  We're well into Breakup (the season between Winter and Spring when everything melts and becomes a big, muddy mess) but Winter wanted to remind us that it's the dominant season around here.  

Some folks were frustrated by the new snow, but I'm OK with it.  The ski trails are in fantastic shape, and it gives me one more opportunity to cook up some hearty winter meals-- like this lentil soup.

I got the recipe for this lentil soup from one of the women in my Dining for Women group.  Dining for Women is a national organization, and I started attending the Fairbanks meals this past fall.  The focus of the organization is bringing together groups of women to share a monthly meal to support organizations around world that empower women.  Instead of going out for a meal, a member hosts a potluck, and we donate the money that would have otherwise been spent at a restaurant to the selected organization.  Dining for Women selects the organizations and provides us with a short video about the organization that we are supporting.  So, we do our best to make dishes from that country (or region).  Caitlyn brought this lentil soup for October's dinner which supported The Unforgotten Fund in Pune, India.

Fairbanks Dining for Women group

Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Garam Masala

4 cups broth (chicken or vegetable) or bouillon cubes
2 cups water
2 cups lentils
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion
4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 (14-oz) can coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste

For garnish
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2-3 tomatoes 

Finely chop the onion, garlic, and ginger.

If using bouillon instead of broth, dissolve the bouillon into 4 cups of water in large stock pot.

Combine broth, water, and lentils in the pot. 

Bring to a boil, and then reduce to simmer.  Simmer until lentils are soft.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add onion.  Cook until soft and lightly browned.

Add the garlic, ginger, and garam masala.

 Cook to release the flavors, about 1 minute. 

Add the onion mixture to the cooked lentils.

Stir in the coconut milk.  Bring to a simmer and cook until lentils soup is thickened, about 15 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste.  When serving, garnish with cilantro chopped tomatoes.