Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Two Soups: Borscht and Coconut Curry Red Lentil

I received a subscription to Chickpea magazine for Christmas and I also treated myself to all the back issues. It’s a beautiful publication, full of gorgeous photos and recipes. It’s the type of magazine that you keep for years to read and re-read every page. This perfect White Zucchini Pizza comes from the Summer 2012 issue. I am a pizza snob, and I know a great pizza when I see one. This one is more than great. You must try it, even you non-vegans out there.

From the Winter 2012 issue, I recently made Borsch; never in a million years would I have dreamed of making it, but the color in the photo tempted me. I wanted to serve it at my St. Patrick’s Day party, but it wasn’t party-worthy in my opinion. The flavor was very thin and mild, which surprised me considering how many zillions of ingredients were in it. Also, if you want to know the truth  - let’s really bond, here – it went s.t.r.a.i.g.h.t. through me…. definitely NOT party-worthy! “Tracy, may I use your bathroom?” “Yes, me too?” Ah, but, that COLOR!

And since soup season is not over up here in Michigan, I also made this excellent Coconut Curry Red Lentil. I loved it, but I wish I had made it thinner. It was a bit too thick for my taste. What I am trying to imitate is the soup I had at Seva Restaurant in Ann Arbor. Why do restaurants always have such great and ‘secret’ ingredients??

And then I was messing around and decided to puree some it: 
 “Tastes like baby food,” said the family."

Here’s what you need for Borscht:
4 beetroots
2 cabbage leaves
2 celery stalks
1 sour apple
1 carrot
Some parsley stalks
½ leek
8 peppercorns
6 allspice corns (I used dried)
2 cloves
2 garlic cloves – unpeeled
3 dried mushrooms
2 dried plums
2 t dried marjoram
¼ C black currant juice (I used pomegranate juice)
2 t red wine vinegar

Here’s what you do:
Wash all the veggies but don’t peel them. Grate beets in a food processor. Cut the apple in quarters and remove seeds. Put all ingredients except marjoram, juice and vinegar in a large pot. Cover with 3 liters of water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for one hour. When it’s done, add the marjoram and vinegar. Leave it alone for the night. ( I put mine in the cold garage)
Next morning, strain, heat, season with salt, pepper and juice. Serve piping hot. 

Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup (adapted from Food.com website, Chef #437873)
Here’s what you need:
1 T olive oil
1 T hot curry or more to taste
½ t cinnamon
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 t fresh ginger, grated or minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1 small can tomato paste
7 C water
2 C Silk brand coconut milk
2 C red lentils
15 oz cooked chick peas (drained and rinsed)
1 T lime juice
Cilantro for garnish

Here’s what you do:
Warm the oil in a large pot. Add the curry and cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the onions and cook another 2 minutes. Add the carrots, ginger, garlic, salt, sugar and tomato paste. Cook 2 more minutes. Pour in the water, coconut milk, lentils and chickpeas. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are very soft.  At the end, stir in the lime juice. 


  1. I LOVE the sound of this coconut curry lentil soup - the ingredients are making me drool!! I'm trying this:))
    Mary x

    1. Mary, I hope you try it... the flavors were really great. I used hot curry because we like a little heat. I think next time I make it I will also add a jalapeno chili for an extra punch.


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