This winter dish is just brimming with nourishing anti-inflammatory spices. In the chillier months when agni—the“digestive fire”—can struggle to get lit, these spices provide digestive aid, helping to transform food into fuel. Though British versions feature meat, the original South Indian recipes typically didn’t, so chickpeas are an ideal ingredient, lending both texture and substance to this hearty dish. If your family likes a little heat, add some cayenne to boost circulation and support the immune system!
3-4 Tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp curry powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 c canned chopped tomatoes, drained
2 potatoes, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1 c red lentils, rinsed
4-6 c broth, chicken or vegetable
1 boneless, skinless chicken thigh OR 1 1/2 c cooked chickpeas
1 can (398 ml) coconut milk
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 c cilantro, chopped, plus extra for garnish (optional)
handful of cashews, for garnish (optional)
1 In large soup pot, heat coconut oil. Add onions and carrots and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the onions have softened. Add the celery and cook for another 5 minutes.
2 Add garlic and ginger and sauté for a minute or so, then add spices and stir for a few seconds until fragrant.
3 Add tomatoes, potatoes, apples, lentils and chicken (if using) and broth. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat, cover, and simmer for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep lentils from sticking to the bottom.
4 Remove chicken from pot and transfer half of the soup to a blender, puréeing until smooth.
5 Return puréed soup to pot and stir in coconut milk.
6 Shred chicken and add to soup, or, if using chickpeas, add them at this point.
7 Cook until heated through. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.
8 Divide between bowls, garnish with cilantro, and serve.