Lentil and pumpkin soup

I was leafing through my mom’s old recipe books, one of her older ones, out of the many she has penned over the years. She started it when I was an infant, circa 1974. And over the years, as a toddler, I’ve left my imprints too, in the form of some scribbling and maybe torn pages! I came across her recipe for Mulligatawny soup, simply written, no measurements. She has mastered the original recipe over the years, I think so, since it’s been a favorite soup of the family. I dug out some key ingredients from her recipe and incorporated many new flavours, seasonal vegetables and the ubiquitous lentils or daals we eat practically everyday, in my version.

With lentils and pumpkin as the base, I’ve added the rind of a fresh lime and it’s  juice. Whole spices, coconut and peanuts, and the usual  aromatics – onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic, gives it a rich flavour.

One can also add any meat to it. I love playing around with local ingredients and any vegetables in season, and this one is a versatile variation of my own.

Servings : 4-6


Toor daal (split pigeon peas) – 1/2 cup. I also use the green variety.

Masoor daal (red lentils) – 1/2 cup

Chicken or vegetable stock – 4 cups

Coconut milk – 1 cup

1 onion, chopped

2 small carrots, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

Pumpkin purée – 1 cup.

Paprika – 1/2 tsp.

1 lime, for the rind + juice

Coconut oil – 2 tbsp.

Fresh coriander or cilantro, to garnish

For the masala paste :

Dry roast 1 tbsp. coriander seeds, 1 tsp. cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, 1 bay leaf, 2 Kashmiri red chilies, few peppercorns, 1” cinnamon, 1 tsp. mustard seeds, 2 tbsp. peanuts.

Grind the above masalas with 1 large garlic clove and 1” piece fresh ginger. Add a little water and grind to a paste. Set aside.

Soak the dried lentils or daals in water for an hour or two. Drain the water and set aside.

Heat coconut oil. Add the onions and sauté till light golden brown. Add the carrots and stir well on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir fry for a few minutes. Add the ground masala paste and stir fry on medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the pumpkin purée. Add the daals and stir well. Add the stock. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, simmer till cooked.

Add the lime rind and paprika. Purée the soup, I use an immersion blender. Add salt. Just before serving, add the coconut milk., on a low flame. Simmer and serve, with a garnish of fresh coriander and a squeeze of lime juice.

Serve along with rice, it goes best with it.








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