Years ago, my grandfather sought out specialty ingredients throughout Los Angeles, regularly buying local California oranges by the bagful for squeezing breakfast juice, and fresh donuts at the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market. Once home, he filled paper bags with toppings of powdered or cinnamon sugar for coating the donuts and ate them alongside his juice. My mom and I like to grocery shop, and we like donuts, too, so there’s probably something there. As a kid, home, sick from school, I went to the market with her and picked out a jelly donut at the pastry counter. Happiness.
These days, I still enjoy the marketing and rarely shop with a list. I look closely at what is available, formulate meals from the ingredients before me, enjoy the process of getting lost in my head. I buy what looks good & inspires me, then go home to cookbooks & blogs for additional guidance. My sister sent me this coconut lentil soup recipe from a blogger, Scaling Back Blog, making a Heidi Swanson lentil soup. It may have had a revision or two. I use this recipe as a base and swap out ingredients depending on what’s in season or what I have in the kitchen pantry. We all make this recipe because it’s a good one. Go for it, make your own revision & happy grocery shopping! Wish I were there…🍩
Red Lentil Coconut Soup from Memory, East Gloucester Square
2 cups red split lentils, uncooked
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper cut into ½ inch dice
1 fresh jalapeno or serrano chili, finely chopped, including seeds
1 tablespoon fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder or 1 tablespoon thai curry paste
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
⅓ cup tomato paste
7 cups water
1 can unsweetened light coconut milk
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
fresh cilantro and lime wedges for serving
Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven or large soup pan and add the onions, bell pepper and jalapeno and cook for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables have softened and start to take on some color.
Add the garlic, ginger, spices and tomato paste and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes until the mixture is toasty and fragrant.
Add the water, coconut milk, lentils and chickpeas, bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes adding the lime juice at the end of cooking.
Taste and adjust with more salt or more lime juice if desired.
Serve the soup topped with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and some extra limes on the side.