Sunday, March 13, 2011

Egyptian Red Lentil Soup

I have always loved lentils. Among my early memories, I remember my mother serving us lentil soup, which I devoured. In the years that have followed, I have learned that there are different types of lentils, with different qualities. While living in New York City, I came upon red lentils and decided I needed to cook with them. They were too pretty to leave in the store!

With some help from the Google, I came upon a recipe on the blog Dove's Eye View, which came from Claudia Roden, an Egyptian Jewish food writer now residing in Britain. I have tweaked it slightly, something to which this recipe lends itself very easily. Play with it. I have in the past used chicken stock at some times and veggie at others, with bouillion cubes at others. If you're not concerned with making this vegan, the addition of some rinds of parmigiano reggiano is quite tasty. Make it your own!

And without further ado, here is my basic recipe:
- 1 large onion, chopped as finely as you can get it (I generally can't get it too fine, thanks to the tears!)
- 1 3/4 cups red lentils
- 7 1/2 cups meat or chicken or veggie stock or water (if you use the water, add a couple of bouillion cubes for flavor as you will need it)-- I've used the Kitchen Basics line of unsalted stocks, and their veggie stock gives this a lovely, deep color.
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp cumin
- juice of 1 lemon
- about 2 tablespoons of olive oil (more if you'd like to drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top)-- you can also do half olive oil, half butter

Using a minimum 2 1/2 quart pot, add the olive oil or olive oil/butter to the heated pot. Add the chopped onion and saute until it is translucent.

Add the liquid, lentils, and salt and pepper. Bring up to a simmer, then cover and let simmer on low for 30 minutes, or until the lentils have mostly fallen apart.

Check for seasoning, then add the cumin and lemon juice. Serve!

Makes 6 servings.


  1. Sounds great! I've never used red lentils. What kind of preparation (rinsing?) do they need before adding to the soup pot?

  2. Oh, it is! The best part: they really do not require any prep whatsoever. Check them over to make sure there are no stones or the like, then add to the pot.