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Our Spicey Dahl Soup Recipe – Warming Food for Gloomy February

We’ve said it before and we’ll no doubt say it again but we do love a lentil. Tiny beads of red, green or grey that lurk in your store cupboard until needed and then spring into action – no overnight soaking required unlike some other pulses and quick to cook so really good news if it’s lunch time again and you have nothing planned. Some onion, some garlic, some ginger, some spices then whack in some lentils and 30 minutes later you’re warm, full, happy and feasted on pulsey goodness.

This week is off to a good lentil average as we had lunch with friends on Monday who were just back from India and started off the meal with a fabulous spicey dahl soup. Teamed up with a glass of chilled manzanilla, this was a great beginning to the afternoon. On Tuesday, inspired by lunch on Monday, David recreated the dahl soup with what we had to hand –  green lentils, ginger, garlic, chilli, curry leaves, mustard seeds and more. Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it out.

Thanks to Helen from My Delicious Devon for the photo. Also major thanks to Susie and Jonathan of Michael Sutton’s Cellar for reigniting our wanderlust after lunch on Monday with tales of their recent Indian adventures. And a huge hello and keep peddling to our friend Chris who is currently cycling 100km a day every day for 45 days from the southern tip of India to the north of the country raising $450,000 for widows as he goes. To see his adventures, do have a look here

Our Spicey Dahl Soup Recipe - Warming Food for Gloomy February


Serves 4

2 red onions, peeled and very finely chopped

3tbsp sunflower oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

5cm piece root ginger, peeled and grated

1tbsp ground coriander

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp chilli powder – or more if you like it hotter

3tbsp tomato passata

200g green lentils (or red – they work fine too)

Salt and pepper

1tsp cumin seeds

1tsp mustard seeds

12 dried curry leaves

3 dried Kashmiri chillies, broken into 3-4 pieces each

4tbsp double cream

Small handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Our Spicey Dahl Soup Recipe - Warming Food for Gloomy February


  1. Heat 2tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan and gently cook 3/4 of the onions until soft.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute.
  3. Add the ground spices and cook for another minute.
  4. Stir in the lentils with the passata and cover with 750ml water. Season well, bring to the boil and simmer until the lentils are tender.
  5. In a small frying pan, add the rest of the oil and when that’s hot add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves, Kashmiri chilli pieces and the rest of the very finely chopped onion. Stir fry for a couple of minutes until the onion is almost cooked but still with a bit of bite. This is the tadka.
  6. Put the soup in 4 bowls. Pour 1tbsp cream into each bowl then spoon the tadka over the top with the fresh coriander.
  7. Serve at once with a squeeze of lemon or lime.

That’s it – have a look in your store cupboard and take it from there. Do let us know how you get on.

Happy cooking

David and Holly


Our Spicey Dahl Soup Recipe - Warming Food for Gloomy February