Its been a while since I posted anything! Not that we haven’t eaten God forbid, a very unlikely proposition for a couple of foodies like us! There has just been so much food around with the holidays, all sorts of goodies, and cookies of all kinds, and it just felt like posting more recipes is really not what everyone would be looking for these days. We’re all in the same boat I’m sure, and we’re all in need of a food brake every once in a while.
Today I thought I’d post a really good lentil soup, perfect for wintery days. Also a definite comfort food! And since this soup smacks of my childhood, I thought that in the process I’d tell you about Dada.
Dada is Egyptian for Nanny. Our Dada joined our family when my middle brother (3rd on the sibling scale of five) was just 3- months old. She stayed on for the next two as well; brother #3 and myself, ranking 4th and 5th on that scale. When the nanny hat no longer fit, Dada switched to cook, housekeeper, and anything-else-needed hat. To us five, she was 2nd mother, and a much valued and loved member of our family.
It was in Dada’s kitchen that I first learned to love the world of everything food and its preparation. You will certainly see Dada’s name tagged on to many of my recipes. Even though I have adapted and changed many of those recipes throughout the years, she still remains the inspiration behind them.
So here is to you Dada, the first of many recipes in your honor: Dada’s Lentil Soup.
1 medium onion
1 medium potato
1 medium tomato
1 medium carrot
2 cups red lentils
8 cups chicken broth
a couple of days-old bread
chop your vegetables roughly (they will be blended later)
add some olive oil & sautee lightly
add the lentils
add the broth
cover & simmer until lentils cooked and vegetables tender
you may need to add more water in the process, and adjust the salt as well
blend smoothly to a puree. We like this soup thick-ish, adjust (by adding more broth) to suit your taste
set aside for now
Dada used to fry the croutons and drain them on paper. I prefer not to fry, so I use the oven. Also she used to add cumin powder to the soup after its been blended, I prefer to use the method below with the roated cumin seeds, I find it gives more character to the soup.
while your soup is simmering, work on the croutons
slice into cubes
place in roasting pan
add sea salt, cumin seeds & olive oil
mix well with your hands and place in a 200centigrade oven with fan
bake till golden coloured (mix occasionally while roasting)
let cool slightly
remove the croutons to a serving bowl
you will be left with lovely roasted cumin seeds & sea salt in the tray, add this mixture to your blended soup and mix to distribute evenly.
Serve with extra croutons on the side.
Most Egyptians like to add lemon juice to their soups, especially this one, I don’t. So try it with and without, and decide for yourself.