Friday, February 25, 2011

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup

Sometimes a girl craves lentils. Well ok, sometimes this girl craves lentils. I’ve gotten many a weird look from people when I 'fess up to that craving. I mean, seriously: who in their right mind craves legumes?
I do, apparently.
For whatever reason, that craving has been insatiable lately. Whenever I so much as look at a lentil, my inner monologue switches into Fat Bastard (from the Austin Powers movies) mode, and I have to suppress the urge to yell “Get! In! Mah! Belly!” Combine this with the fact that I’ve been missing the Middle East like woah lately and you have…a chick who really wants some Middle Eastern-style lentil soup.
I decided to make this soup with one of my favorite spice blends from my year of cavorting about the desert: advieh, also known in the Gulf countries as baharat. While it originated in Persia (now modern day Iran), different variations exist throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean. The version I use consists of cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, and black pepper. If it sounds like a little much, I promise that the flavors blend together wonderfully to create a complex, exotic blend of spices and general awesomeness.
I added the advieh to both the soup and the caramelized onions that grace the top of this delectable bowl of lentil-y goodness. Served with brown rice, it’s gluten-free, vegan, and high in both protein and fiber.

Middle Eastern-Style Lentil Soup With Caramelized Onions:
1 C split red lentils

2-3 T olive oil
2 C water or vegetable broth
1 chopped onion
2 T olive oil
Brown rice (I prepare the rice in a rice cooker, since it takes longer to cook than the lentils do) 


Advieh:
1 T Cardamom
1 T Cinnamon
1 T Cumin
1 T Coriander
1/4 t Black pepper
*Boil water in a separate pot or use a rice cooker to get the rice going while you focus on the soup. Regardless of whether you're going stove-top style or using a rice cooker, use 1:2 ratio of rice to water.
Boil water or veggie broth, and add all the lentils. Reduce heat and let simmer 20-30 minutes.
In a separate pan, begin heating olive oil on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté. Add some advieh here, too – once again, do it to taste. I just used a few dashes of each spice - you don't need much on the onions.
*Boil water in a separate pot or use a rice cooker to get the rice going while you focus on the soup. Regardless of whether you're going stove-top style or using a rice cooker, use 1:2 ratio of rice to water.
Boil water or veggie broth, and add all the lentils. Reduce heat and let simmer 20-30 minutes.
In a separate pan, begin heating olive oil on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté. Add some advieh here, too – once again, do it to taste. I just used a few dashes of each spice - you don't need much on the onions.

Layer the bottom of a bowl with brown rice and ladle the lentil soup on top -- or mix them together in the same pot, whichever suits your fancy. Garnish with caramelized onions and serve. (Oh, and don’t be like me: in my eagerness to chow down, I didn’t let it cool down enough and subsequently burned the hell out of my mouth. D’oh!)



8 comments:

  1. I crave lentils! Like right NOW!

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  2. Thanks - I'm glad to know there are people who share my love of lentils! And, of course, merci mille fois for posting the link on Oh She Glows! :)

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  3. this looks great! Quick question (I haven't had coffee yet this morning, and may have missed it!). How much advieh do you add to the soup, and when in the course of making the recipe? Thanks!

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  4. @ RunCrissieRun: Thanks - I'm glad you like it! :)

    You ask a great question - the advieh can go into the lentils while they're cooking (you can use the full mix, which is about 1 tablespoon of each component spice). As for the onions, you don't need much -- just a dash or so of each component will do.

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  5. Hi there--I saw this recipe linked on OSG and I had to make it immediately. It was great, thanks so much for sharing! I did add a bunch of cayenne and a touch of lemon at the end. I'm a glutton for hot,hot punishment. :-)

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  6. Hi, Karla! I'm glad you liked it -- and I love the idea of adding cayenne and lemon. That's a great call -- and besides, anything from the Middle East goes hand in hand with hot, hot punishment! (Believe me, the desert has that effect.) :)

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  7. Bookmarking this.

    You're definitely not alone: I have a notorious sweet tooth but I still think I'd rather have lentils, beans, or chickpeas over dessert any day.

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  8. Yay! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who craves legumes like nobody's business. :) Thanks for bookmarking this - I appreciate it!

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