I was feeling unwell. Nothing seemed exotic enough to entice my palate. Life was colorless and dull. So I decided to flip through my beautiful BBC Good Food Magazines to look for a dish exotic enough and possible with just the ingredients in my fridge.
And the God’s were smiling at me. There were these wonderful red vegetables and fruit (tomato is a fruit!!!) in my fridge and red lentils in my store and we were set. The recipe in the BBC Good Food Mag was great, but of course I tweaked it to my specifications. And it was a miracle! Yum! Everyone who is afraid of trying out Red Capsicum outside your ‘Chowmein’ dish – Don’t be! It tastes wonderful, no wonder Nigella Lawson hates Green Capsicum so much.
Tomatoes – 5
Red Capsicum – 2
Red Lentil – 1 cup
Garlic – 5 cloves (small)
Bay leaf – 1
Whole Peppercorns – 8
Whole Cloves – 3
Ginger – a small chunk
Spring Onions – 100 gms.
Salt – to taste
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Butter – 2 tbsp ( for serving)
Lemon & coriander ( for serving)
Water for boiling – 4 cups
Note – The recipe in the Good Food Mag asked for 2 cups of Yellow lentils (Arhar dal) but we make it so much at my home that I didn’t want more of it. I used red lentils instead. Also, I reduced the quantity of the lentils. I also added only 3 tomatoes and realized that lead to decreased acidity in the soup, even with all the spring onion I had used, so I have increased the number of tomatoes in the recipe.
Chop the tomatoes and red capsicum into quarters. Put on a baking tray along with the garlic cloves, a dash of olive oil and salt. Toss them together. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes/ till the vegetables are soft.
They come out looking and smelling great.
Puree these and keep aside.
Boil the Lentil, Spring onions, Bay leaf, Peppercorns, Cloves and Ginger in about 4 cups of water.
Remove the bay leaf and the chunk of ginger.
Add the pureed capsicum and tomatoes into the boiled lentil and blend again.
Add salt to taste.
Just before serving – In a hot pan, add butter and cumin seeds (if desired). Then add the soup to it. Stir.
If you want it thinner add some water at this point along with salt.
Serve with fried bread and chopped coriander.
For acidity add a dash of lemon.
Note – The BBC Good Food Mag asked that the soup be tempered with chilli powder, turmeric powder along with cumin. I didn’t want that taste, so I skipped it.