There is something tranquil and calming, not to mention sentimental, about being in the middle of white. It's the purest white you could ever imagine, making you forget that there's filth and dirt underneath. It gives you a sense of calm and hope, not to mention utter serenity.
Physiologically, I'm not too joyful about it, because to be honest, I can really do without the frigid temperature, but ahh..such is life. We don't always get what we want. It's all in the package. You can't pick and choose. Take it or leave it.
A bowl of steaming hearty soup is a welcome food item in such a condition. Especially when your kids have spent minutes outside building ice castles with slabs of ice and your husband has shoveled packed and dense snow from the walkway and around the van. Dashing in the door, exhaling puffs of little dragon breaths, the kids squealed with delight that there was something hot to come inside to. Hot cocoa is their favorite. There were times when I found myself making cups and cups of hot cocoa again and again while they dash in and out again and again. Imagine the hot hearty soup traveling down your throat, warming you inside out all the way to your almost numb extremeties. A welcome item indeed.
The first time I had red lentil soup was when we were invited to a Jordanian friend's house. I personally am not used to thick soups and don't really care for them. But as soon as I put the spoonful of soup to my lips, I knew I had fallen in love. There was no turning back. I asked her for the recipe. And here is my version.
1 lb packet of red lentils
1 onion, minced/pounded
5 cloves garlic, minced/pounded
1 stalk celery - sliced
1 carrot - sliced
1/2 Roma tomatoes, cut into small chunks
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
2 Tablespoons ground coriander
2 Tablespoons black pepper
1 Tablespoons tomato paste
2-3 Cups water
1. Soak the lentils for about an hour or so (some packets say they don't need to be soaked though)
2. Heat oil in a deep saucepan and saute the onion and garlic for about 2 minutes
3. Add the carrot, celery, tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin, coriander and continue sauteing till they're soft and fragrant
4. Add the drained red lentils and water and bring to boil
5. Simmer until lentils are cooked
6. If you have an immersion blender, blend the soup until you have a smooth consistency (or if you like it slightly chunky, stop before it's smooth)
7. Season with salt and black pepper
- The longer you saute the first few ingredients before dumping in the red lentils, the more flavor you're going to get, because sauteing extracts the flavor of the ingredients.
- I didn't have an immersion blender, so I blended the hot soup in a normal blender. If you do this, be very careful because blending a hot soup can create a red lentil soup volcano. What I did was to hold down the top of the blender with a wad of cloth so if the contents do threaten to spurt out, there is something between it and my hand or face.
- The amount of water I gave above is an estimation. You can adjust your soup's thickness, but try to keep it on the thick side.
The red lentil soup I recently made (to finish up the packets of lentils sitting around in the bin under our dining table), I ate with tortilla that I reheated by way of steaming. It almost tastes like roti canai (paratha) eaten with thick non spicy curry. Even Zeyoudee loved it. And there I have my allergy free roti canai breakfast (MalaysianFood.net).