Coconut Red Lentil Soup

24 Apr

Recipe source: 101 Cookbooks

Today it’s warm and beautiful outside, in the high 70s, but it rained for three days last week. So, I have decided that spring is the most capricious of the seasons – the weather can’t decide if it wants to be winter or summer! The days are probably running out for making this recipe, but I think it’s still perfect for colder days. And as for the hot days, you could argue that this soup is light, so you will feel nourished after eating it, without feeling weighed down. Anyway, you should make it. The combination of coconut milk, toasted curry, and fresh, spicy ginger just makes me happy inside. I’m so grateful to Heidi at 101 Cookbooks for posting it on her blog. I wouldn’t change a thing! Except maybe doubling it. 🙂  (Jump straight to recipe.)

The recipe uses yellow split peas and red split lentils. I bought mine in bulk at Henry’s. The nice thing about lentils is you don’t have to soak them overnight like you would beans, so this recipe doesn’t require a lot of advance prep.


First, you will rinse the peas and lentils as you would rice, until the water runs clear. Then add them to a large soup pot with 7 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add a diced carrot (or two… or three) and some fresh ginger. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, toast curry powder in a small skillet, and saute butter, green onions, ginger, golden raisins, and tomato paste in another skillet. Now. I feel compelled to tell you at this point that you might want to buy some pre-packaged raisins. The second time we made this soup, we used raisins we bought in bulk, and they were almost twice the size of the raisins I’m used to buying. “Score!” you might think. Except that in the finished soup, when you bite into one that has reconstituted to the size of a green grape, you will find it odd, if even a little disturbing. The sweet addition is nice in the recipe, but grapes – I think not.

Lastly, add the toasted curry powder, tomato paste mixture, coconut milk, and salt to the lentils. Simmer, uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until the soup has reduced to a desired consistency. If you prefer a “soupier” soup, you can add warm water incrementally.


We served this soup with a nutty, oaty toasted brown bread, but you can also serve it with brown rice, as Heidi suggests.

RECIPE – Coconut Red Lentil Soup
1 cup yellow split peas
1 cup red split lentils (masoor dal)
7 cups water
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons butter or ghee
8 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
one small handful cilantro, chopped
cooked brown rice or farro, for serving (optional)

Give the split peas and lentils a good rinse, until they no longer put off murky water. Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1/4 of the ginger. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.

In the meantime, in a small dry skillet or saucepan over low heat, toast the curry powder until it is quite fragrant. Be careful though, you don’t want to burn the curry powder, just toast it. Set aside. Place the butter in a pan over medium heat, add half of the green onions, the remaining ginger, and raisins. Saute for two minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and saute for another minute or two more.

Add the toasted curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so. The texture should thicken up, but you can play around with the consistency if you like by adding more water, a bit at a time, if you like. Or simmer longer for a thicker consistency. The thicker this soup got, the more I liked it.

Sprinkle each bowl generously with cilantro and the remaining green onions.

Serves 6.

6 Responses to “Coconut Red Lentil Soup”

  1. Dave April 24, 2010 at 10:38 pm #

    This soup is sooooo good and sooo healthy too. High protein and fiber, it makes for a nice vegetarian dish on a cool evening. None of the flavors are overwhelming, yet they are there and linger on one’s tongue for a few seconds after each bite. Delightful. 🙂

  2. Dave April 24, 2010 at 10:41 pm #

    This soup would be delicious with some garlic Naan bread (ref: Almost Tandoori Chicken-putasporkinit)

  3. Heide M April 25, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    Wow, what a great recipe. Love the idea of using coconut milk.

  4. Mike June 14, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    I made this and was generous with the ginger. I love it! I will definitely make this again. Thanks!

  5. brandiego October 8, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    I’ve made this a number of times and I can confidently say that this soup is AWESOME. So delicious. Love 101 Cookbooks!


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