Indian lentil soup with beetroot greens

It’s good ol ‘yellow daal’ which we lovingly call it at home.! A mix of lentils cooked with onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and Indian spices. With an added twist of nutritious beetroot greens, to add more protein and a burst of antioxidants and fiber

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Don’t toss away those flavorful greens when you buy beetroots. I love to store them in my fridge and toss them in any dish that would compliment them. They are a perfect substitute to spinach, chard, kale, bok choy or any dark leafy greens. Just trim the leaves off, wash and add to any stew, soup, pasta and in this case, daal.

In my recipe, I have used a mix of dried red lentils, yellow and green split peas. Lentils are naturally gluten-free. Daal is a staple in most Indian homes, such as ours, eaten with rice, Indian bread or roti and a side of meat or vegetables. That’s generally the 3 course kind of meal we eat for dinner on most days. Lentils are low in calories and packed with nutrients, dietary fiber, vitamins and protein. We have grown up eating lentils, a variety of them, cooked in different ways, ending up as delicious daals on our dining table.

We always add a tempering of ghee and spices to the daal just before serving it. In this case, I have tempered it with cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves, whole red dried chilli, in a dollop of ghee.

One more rule, always wash and soak the dried lentils before cooking them. The legumes swell up and cook faster, giving it a heartier texture.

Servings 4

Ingredients :

Dried red lentils(red masoor daal) – 3/4 cup

Dried yellow split peas(toor daal) – 1 tbsp.

Dried green split peas – 1 tbsp.

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Chopped onions – 3/4 cup

Finely minced ginger – 1 tsp.

Finely minced garlic – 1 tsp.

Finely minced jalapeño or green chili – 1 tsp.

1 small tomato, chopped

8-10 beetroot leaves, chopped

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1/2 tsp turmeric powder

a pinch asafoetida

Salt, to taste

1 tsp.olive oil

Fresh coriander or cilantro, to garnish

For the tempering :

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1 tsp ghee

3/4 tsp. cumin seeds

3/4 tsp. black mustard seeds

a few curry leaves

a couple of dried red chillies

1/4 tsp. paprika

Soak the lentils in water for at least 30 mins.

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Drain and set aside in a colander. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Add asafoetida. Add the onions and sauté for 3-4 mins on medium heat, till translucent and turning pink. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for a minute. Add tomatoes.

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Add turmeric. Sauté for a minute and then add the lentils and the beet greens.

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Mix well. Add sufficient water, to cover at least an inch above the lentil mixture. If you would like it lighter and on the watery side, add extra water.

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Let the mixture come to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 35 to 40 mins till the lentils are tender and cooked. Now add salt to taste.

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For the tempering, heat ghee in a small pan. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried red chillies. When it starts spluttering, remove from heat and add paprika. Add the tempering to the lentils(if the lentils are still very hot, be careful the mixture does not splutter when adding the tempering). Hold the lid over it and cover immediately.

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Garnish with fresh cilantro or coriander. Serve hot as a soup or with rice. Goes well with any Indian bread or naan. We call it roti-daal!:-)

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