Recipe for hearty and nourishing soup of Lentils, Barley and Vegetables
4 to 6 sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons coconut oil or other oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional)
2 bay leaves or a small handful of crushed dried curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon asafetida
1 medium onion, diced
2.5cm piece fresh ginger, grated or minced
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
3 to 4 green chilies, seeded and minced
3 to 4 cups assorted diced vegetables (I used 2 large carrots, 2 stalks of celery, 6 small Brussels sprouts and 2/3 cup frozen peas)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2/3 teaspoon paprika
3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
2 teaspoons tamarind paste
2/3 cup red lentils, rinsed
1/3 cup pearl barley, rinsed
2/3 cup coconut milk
5 to 6 cups water, or more as needed
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh or dried fenugreek (methi) leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
fresh cracked black pepper
juice from 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in 1 1/2 cups of hot water for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking water, and chop. Set aside.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or soup pot. When hot, toss in the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds if using, and bay leaves or curry leaves. When the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop, quickly stir in the asafetida and then add the onion and saute for 5 minutes.
Add the ginger, garlic and chilies and stir for another minute. Now add the chopped vegetables and stir for another 5 minutes. Toss in the turmeric, coriander and paprika, and stir for another minute.
Now add the fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and tamarind paste to the pan and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until thickened, stirring often. Stir in the lentils and barley and pour in the reserved sun-dried tomato soaking water, coconut milk and 5 cups of water.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the lentils and barley are soft. Add up to 1 cup more water if needed.
Stir in the garam masala, fenugreek leaves, sea salt, black pepper and lemon juice. Simmer for another few minutes and serve hot.