Red lentil soup with coconut and toasted cashews


“A single dream can be more powerful than a thousand realities”

~ J.R.R. Tolkien ~

I hope you’ve met 2014 with joy and excitement.

I hope you’ve met it with dreams of good things to come, but most of all I hope New Year has opened a blank canvas begging to be painted with visions adventures and dreams coming true.

I’ve started mine with setting goals. Not resolutions or silly promises to be forgotten in a week or so, but a to do list, a guideline for the things I want this year to bring. Last year this list was humble and vague and even though 2013 was a year of phenomenal change and steps into new directions, I’ve learned to be precise in what I ask for and aim.

This year the list is long, daring and frankly rather frightening, but the way I see things, it’s better to aim for more rather than less. Mine among other things it involves the making of three books… Or at least that’s the plan and we’ll see where 2014 will lead.

Back in December, I thought the first recipe of the year will be a fresh salad, as they are sort of appropriate after the holiday season; unless the festive tables have been lean and light, but they rarely are. My dear grandmother always carefully overlooks the table, making sure that everyone getting up would be stuffed more than a Christmas goose, and so we all are. But instead, New Year has started with cravings for spices and a taste of the orient. Something to warm up while colds are sweeping everywhere and perhaps to cure the everlasting mine.

The basic recipe comes from James Martin, but I’ve twisted a couple of ingredients here and there to save a trip to the store, the result was too good not to share. It’s spicy, filling with layers of flavor and great for a light lunch or dinner anytime.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Red lentil soup with coconut and toasted cashews
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Delightfully warming red lentil soup with taste of the orient
Recipe type: Soups
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 cup/ 200g red lentils
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-2 dried red chillies
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 can tinned tomatoes
  • 1teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 fresh red chilli, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup cashew nuts, toasted
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. Place the lentils in a large pot with water, turmeric, salt and bring to simmer.
  2. In the meanwhile heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat, break the dried chillies into pieces and add to the pan with the coriander, cumin and fenugreek seeds and black peppercorns.
  3. Toast for 20 seconds, shaking constantly.
  4. Remove and place in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder, then grind to a powder.
  5. Return the pan to the heat, then add two tablespoons of the vegetable oil, the onion and garlic, and cook gently for 7-10 minutes, until softened.
  6. Add the spice mixture, onions and tinned tomatoes to the lentils and bring to a simmer.
  7. Skim off and discard any scum, then cook for one hour over a very low heat, stirring from time to time.
  8. Before serving, heat a frying pan until very hot and add the remaining vegetable oil.
  9. When the oil is smoking, add the mustard seeds, fresh chilli then quickly remove from the heat.
  10. Remove any last residue of scum from the soup, then transfer it to a blender in batches and process until smooth.
  11. Return it to the pan to heat through and add the tempered spices and cilantro. Taste and add more salt or pepper as needed.
  12. Divide between serving bowls top with a little coconut milk, toasted cashews, more fresh cilantro and serve immediately.



31 thoughts on “Red lentil soup with coconut and toasted cashews

    • There’s plenty of those in here, I’ve been stocking up lots spices since starting to cook from Jeruzalem cookbok :)

  1. I love all the beautiful colors in this soup–and there are clearly some beautiful flavors in there too! This sounds like a perfect dinner for the coldest of weather.

  2. Lovely soup and very pretty presentation! I’ve been making soup constantly this Fall/Winter. I love how easy and quick red lentils are to cook – not to mention delicious and hearty!

    • Thanks Monica, I actually have been stocking up red lentils, but cooking little since few weeks, love it how versatile they are.

  3. A beautiful recipe and a lovely start to the New Year. The quote by Tolkien was great too! Thank you for sharing. Very glad I found you tonight 😉

  4. It is great to soup a dish inspired in Indian cuisine here…which is one of my fave! I love soups and eagerly eat them as often as I can, especially considering the low temperatures lately. The photos are gorgeous, Gintare! Wishing you a marvelous 2014!

    • Thanks so much Denise, we’re expecting a serious wave of frost next week, so soups and stews are high on the menu :)

  5. I hope you have such a fabulous year and get to reach your goals!
    This soup looks delicious, and super comforting for the cool weather. I love the combo of spices that you used! And your pictures are gorgeous, I’m in awe! xx

  6. On this cold, foggy morning I am thinking of nothing more than a warming bowl of fragrant soup. The Red Lentil Soup is just irresistible!

  7. This looks really delicious. The soup looks so healthy and colourful- a perfect, nutritious lunch recipe. Love the photos too! :)

  8. Such pretty holiday photos you have here! They just make the soup look so warm and comforting :) I’ve never tried cashews in soup but it certainly looks delicious.

  9. Your lentil soup looks amazing! I have my version in the fridge, but, though delicious, it’s brown and not so visually appealing. Yours has the photogenic wow factor which certainly matches the flavor :) Perfect way to star the new year.

  10. Gintare, I loved your statement: “I’ve learned to be precise in what I ask for and aim.” This precision is evident in your new website, photos, format — everything! Best wishes to you in 2014. You’ve inspired me!

    • Tikrai gerai sildo, ypac kai to reikia. Girdejau planuoja visur atsalti, tai bus pats tas :)

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