Jeanette Chen is a resident of New Canaan. Her Healthy Living Blog is dedicated to promoting a healthy lifestyle through good nutrition.
Lately, I've been craving both Thai coconut curry soup and lentil soup. Perhaps, it's because I wanted to relive the heady bowl of Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup I had for lunch last week when it was wet and dank outside. There is something warming and completely comforting about spicy Asian noodle soups. Thick lentil soups have also been on my mind, as it's getting cooler out, calling for heartier fare. These two comfort foods inspired me to come up with a recipe for Thai Coconut Curry Lentil soup.
Thai Red Curry Paste
One of my favorite convenience condiments is Thai red curry paste. Thai red curry paste typically contains lemongrass, Thai red chilies, onion, garlic, coriander, galangal, paprika, lime leaves, cumin, and turmeric. Fortunately, Thai red curry paste can be found in most supermarkets in the ethnic aisles, so there's really no need to make your own. This curry paste is quite potent, so most recipes only need a few spoonfuls. I usually freeze any extras in small portions, so I have it on hand. I've added a touch of coconut milk to the soup to mellow out the spicy curry, and add a velvety mouth feel.
Here's the recipe I came up with for Thai Coconut Curry Lentil Soup. I hope you find it as comforting as I do.
Thai Coconut Curry Lentil Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1-2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste (if you like it spicy, use the full 2 teaspoons)
6 cups water
1 cup red lentils, picked through for stones, and rinsed well
1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut milk
fresh cilantro, for garnish
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onions, ginger and garlic. Cook over medium heat until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in Thai red curry paste, and cook several minutes or until fragrant. Add water, lentils, sweet potatoes and turmeric. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook about 20-25 minutes or until lentils and sweet potatoes are soft. Add salt and stir in coconut milk. Cook five more minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro.