Hearty and healthy lentil soup with oatmeal

Published: September 9, 2019
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We can serve this soup with a variety of toppings of your choice. PHOTO: AYISHAH TALIAFERRO

A big part of my daily routine is planning a meal menu which is both nutritious and savoury. With this in mind, I created my original heart-healthy lentil soup with oatmeal. This is an adaptation of the Lebanese lentil soup ‘shorbat adas’. However, my recipe has oats, lentils and a mixture of aromatic spices in it too. 

I love this recipe as it is great comfort food with a mild flavour which satisfies the palate as well. All I need to do is combine raw lentils, oatmeal and fresh tomatoes with some traditional spices. I leave it on the stove and let it cook itself. Once it’s cooked, I make a smooth puree in the blender to form the soup. It is done in a few steps without a lot of effort that quality cooking usually requires. For example, preparing this soup involves neither any marination or soaking of food, nor any cutting or chopping.

This soup is very healthy because of the classic oatmeal grain I use as a unique ingredient. Oats have nutritional superpowers offering multiple health benefits, including decreasing cholesterol level and reducing the risk of heart disease. They provide a boost and maintain my energy levels for the day. I believe that they provide a pleasant texture and a mild nutty flavour too.

Furthermore, the soup provides warmth particularly during winter when we tend to be relatively less active. Most importantly, the dish becomes immensely flavourful when a dash of fresh lemon juice and herbs are added. They help to create a distinct fragrant flavour and really complement the soup. Here is my soup recipe for you from my kitchen.

Preparation time: 1 hour

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

Red split lentils (masoor dal): 1 cup

Yellow lentil (moong dal): ½ cup

Oatmeal: 1 cup

Turmeric powder: 1 tsp

Chicken or vegetable stock: 1

Fresh tomatoes: 4 (large-sized, roughly chopped)

Water: 3 cups

Kaffir lime leaves: 4 to 6

Lemon wedges: 6

Black pepper: 1 tsp

Combination of spice powder: 1 tsp (cumin seeds 1 tsp, raw coriander 1 tsp, red chilli flakes 2 tsp. Roast each of them on low flame and blend in a mixer into powdered form)

Fresh cilantro: 1 tbsp

Salt as per taste

Method:

1. Mix both lentils (yellow and red) together.

2. Wash the lentils in cold water.

3. Put a heavy soup pot on medium heat. Add lentils, oatmeal, chicken or vegetable stock, turmeric powder, combination of spice powder, salt and kaffir lime leaves with three cups of water. Cook for 20 minutes and bring to a boil.

(Tip: Kaffir lime leaves provide a distinctive lime aroma and flavour)

4. Add roughly chopped tomatoes. Cook and stir occasionally for about 15 minutes.

(Tips: Check the consistency of the soup and add water accordingly. Once the soup is ready, set it aside for a few minutes to cool)

5. Discard the kaffir lime leaves from the soup.

6. Using a blender or a food processor, blend the cooked lentils to make a smooth puree.

7. Cook the soup again on low heat, adding more water if required to get the desired consistency but try to maintain the thickness of the soup while cooking. Stir and cook for about five minutes.

8. Add black pepper, adjust the salt and mix well.

9. Serve the soup warm with lemon wedges and cilantro.

We can serve this soup with a variety of toppings. My husband personally prefers it with fried crunchy onions on top, while my children like it with pita chips. You can try it both ways or whichever way you like. Even the ever-favourite Slims chips go really well with it for those who want a dash of extra spice and crunch.

Hope you enjoy this hearty meal!

(All photos: Ayishah Taliaferro)

Shaziah Zuberi

Shaziah Zuberi

The author is a blogger about a variety of contemporary subjects and is based in Washington DC. She contributed to the book “Food Prints” and is currently working on her forthcoming book titled “A Taste of Pakistan in Fusion”. She tweets @ShaziahZ (twitter.com/ShaziahZ).

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.