Sunday, January 3, 2016

lentil and greens soup to balance the diet regime | lentil soup with broccoli, garlic leaves and carrot leaves

Lentil soups are one of those meals that I cook whenever in doubt. There are times when I want to eat all the vegetables and lentils in a warming comforting meal and don't want to cook an elaborate meal. Especially for dinner I want a warm cup to hold in my hands and sip the goodness slowly.


And recently I found a glass breakfast cup (measuring 700 ml) that I use for my soup meals as well. What is even better is that the huge cup fits in my large palm quite snug with my thumb slipping into the handle. You will find more soup mugs in my home than plates probably, I love my soups so much.

The good thing is that one can add just about any vegetables and greens to lentils and make the most delicious soup, that allows using the seasonal produce in a great way. Knowing what combinations of vegetables you like and adding on the seasonings right works wonders in this case.

I am a great fan of pressure cookers for making life easier when I want healthy and filling meals in a jiffy. And I get a secret pleasure when others try guessing what all has gone into the soup and I reveal the presence of carrot greens in it. Yes this lentil soup has carrot leaves along with broccoli and some fennel leaves.


Now most people hate broccoli and everyone that I know has shrunk their noses to carrot leaves. Luckily they just hate it and say no to these wonderful vegetables when suggested, but when I make the carrot leaves paratha no one seems to mind what leaves are those.


I know carrot leaves have very little taste and a slight bitter aftertaste that even I don't like. But carrot leaves lend themselves well in parathas and soups in combination with some aromatic ingredient.

Note that there are many articles on the internet telling you how 'toxic' carrot leaves are, how the alkaloids are so harmful that it may be deadly but in my experience I never saw any toxic effect of the greens. No one would be able to eat so much carrot leaves to cause death by overdose of alkaloids. If you can have instant coffee you can have carrot leaves too.

I find *mixed lentil (see ingredient list) works better for thick and creamy lentil soups. Although you can use any lentils for making soups, this mix of split black beans with skin, split mung with skin, split red lentils, split pigeon peas and split chickpeas is the current favourite of mine.


Even for this lentil soup the carrot leaves taste great along with some green garlic, a few fennel leaves and a lot of broccoli. I added coconut milk for making the soup smooth and garlic butter because I wanted some warmth.

ingredients 
(2-3 large meal servings or 6-7 soup servings)

100 gm *mixed lentils (split urad daal and split mung with skin, masoor daal, arhar daal and chana daal)
2 small broccoli (250 gm) along with the stems, hard portions removed
5 green garlic shoots (50 gm) chopped (optional)
leaves of 6 carrots (70 gm)
3-4 stalks of fennel (or use coriander leaves or dill leaves)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
6-7 pods of garlic peeled and minced
2 tsp butter or ghee
100 ml coconut milk
pepper powder and red chilli flakes as per taste
lime juice 1 tsp

procedure 

Rinse lentils and soak for an hour or so. Or use directly in a hurry.

Place the lentils and all chopped vegetables in a pressure cooker along with 2 cups water, salt and turmeric powder and pressure cook for 10 minutes after the first whistle. Let it cool till you can blend the cooked contents.

I generally pressure cook the above mix in the morning and do not open the lid till the dinner time when I have to cook the soup. Once pressure cooked the contents stay unspoiled till you open the cooker. This way I get cold cooked lentils and vegetables that can be blended conveniently.

Blend the lentils and vegetables mix and return to the cooker pan. Add the coconut milk, adjust seasoning and add the garlic butter too. Simmer till the soup is hot and creamy.

Serve with a little more coconut cream or milk as garnish.


The soup is so delicious I often overeat whenever I make this. I started making this soup when there was a glut of carrots in my garden few years ago but the carrots remained very thin and gnarled as the soil had too many stones. I went ahead and used the leaves and now I always get a bunch of fresh carrots with leaves whenever I spot them in the market. The garden makes me learn so much.

The soup tastes great when thick and creamy when you are having it as a meal. If you are planning to serve this soup as part of an elaborate meal you must keep it thinner as you wouldn't want a too filling soup to start a meal. Garnish the thinner version of this soup with a slice of lime and see how everyone loves the hint of fennel or whatever herb you decide to add to this soup.

To tell you the truth I make this soup quite often when the broccoli are past their prime. The herbs, the coconut milk and garlic butter lift this soup to another level. The carrot leaves will not even be noticeable in the overall scheme of things trust me.

You can add beet leaves and cauliflowers or simply loads of coriander leaves and tomatoes to make the same lentil soup along with coconut milk or dairy cream or even buttermilk. Try one of these combinations to know what I mean.

The combination of lentils and such vegetables in a soup makes it easier to balance out any eating out or eating for social obligations. Eating simpler meals at home is the best way to be able to enjoy eating out occasionally.

But it doesn't mean you can go berserk when eating out, too much damage to the eating discipline will need more strict measures to undo the damage.





4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. So good to know you tried and liked it. How have you been?

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    2. Good. Following my new year resolution of eating healthy ! I particularly like your idea of pressure cooking in the morning and then cooking in the evening. Saved a lot of cooking time once I got back from work

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    3. That's good to know Ruchira. I am glad these small tricks work for you, hoping these are useful for many people.

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