French (green) Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Indian Spices

French (green) Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Indian Spices

This is based on a recipe I found using a google search for ingredients I have in my fridge that I did not want to waste. I followed the recipe exactly, only omitting ¾ of the minuscule amount ground clove as I know I dislike the flavor. Oh. And I used home-dried thyme, that was once fresh (no fresh in the house).

I was happy to find this recipe to use up my remaining 1 cup of coconut milk and an onion that’s been hanging around in my pantry. As you can tell from my pictures, I used my Dutch/French oven to make the soup. I actually used it earlier to fry my chicken, so I figured it could go for another spin.

One interesting step in this recipe was infusing ghee and using it to flavor the soup. I’m used to toasting spices after sauteing onions, but I never saw cooking spices in ghee (clarified butter) and then adding the mixture to the soup. I’m not even sure I cooked the spices long enough since I was wanting to prevent burning them.

If you’re watching your kcals, I suppose be careful, but otherwise, enjoy the indulgence. I tasted the soup after it was finished and it was quite tasty. I can’t wait to eat it for lunch tomorrow after the flavors meld even further.

That step about the ghee infusion also led me to investigate if this sort of ghee preparation is a thing, and it is! The best factual article I found is about the Indian cooking technique called tadka which translates into tempering. A tadka is the result of cooking spices in very hot heat in order to cook and bring out the spice’s flavor.

“Tadka translates as “tempering.” It is a method widely used in Indian cuisine, in which whole or ground spices are heated in hot oil or ghee and the mixture is added to a dish. Hot fat has an amazing ability to extract and retain the essence, aroma and flavor of spices and herbs and then carry this essence with it when it is added to a dish. American cooks are familiar with tempering as a way of heating and cooling chocolate. No relation.

Indian tempering is done either at the beginning of the cooking process or as a final flavoring at the end.”

Excerpt from NPR article, The Crackling Spices Of Indian Tempering by Monica Bhide

Check out these additional links to recipes and products: Indian spiced ghee, garlic infused ghee and product

This was a really great find as it led to led me to new knowledge, and ideas about products and techniques.