Fragrant Spiced Indian Vegetable and Lentil Soup


Straight on the heels of my Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup, it's another one! This hearty (yet not heavy) soup is one that I first posted way back in August last year - it had been hanging around in the back of my head for ages, and when I finally posted it, it seemed to hit a note with quite a few of you :) I hope you don't mind my re-posting it, but I would hate you to have missed it as it is a real favourite.  Fragrant with cumin, turmeric, ginger, garam masala and a hint of chilli, it is a fabulously healthy winter treat with a wee bit of naan or roti on the side. The lentils and vegetables pack a fibre punch, and the turmeric is well known for it's medicinal benefits including anti-inflammatory properties and interestingly for me particularly, possible melanoma-fighting benefits (long story for another day!). The addition of lemon and mint give it a bright note which works well with the mellow curry flavour...anyhoo, I hope you like it, and if you give it a go, be sure and leave me a comment, or come and say 'hi' at my Facebook page. Before you go, pop on over to my home page and have a good fossick around my recent posts, hopefully there will be other recipes there that take your fancy!

(Well holy moly since I first posted this an awful lot of you have come to visit - yay - and hello! It has prompted me to put another couple of quick notes about this recipe. Firstly - please don't use canned pumpkin, this recipe is for fresh, unprocessed, regular old straight-from-the-garden pumpkin (we actually don't even have tinned pumpkin in New Zealand, other than baby food). Secondly, this is a thick soup (hearty as mentioned above). If you want a thinner consistency, feel free to add a little extra stock, I wouldn't recommend thinning with more coconut cream as you will alter the flavour. Anyway, let me know if you give it a whirl :))

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp Rice Bran (or other neutral) oil
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder

1 onion, medium /finely chopped
1 green chilli, de-seeded and chopped (leave seeds in if you prefer more heat)
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp tomato paste
finely grated zest of 1 lime or lemon
1 big tsp honey
3 cloves garlic, crushed

3 cups pumpkin, chopped into 2cm pieces
1 medium kumara or sweet potato, chopped into 2cm pieces
1 large waxy potato, peeled and chopped into 2cm pieces
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
1 1/3 cups red lentils
1 1/2 litres vegetable stock or water
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup natural yoghurt (optional / or coconut cream)
handful fresh mint or coriander leaves
1/2 green chilli, sliced
1 tbsp dry-fried cumin seeds
1 lemon or lime, cut into wedges, optional

Heat oil and butter in a large heavy bottomed pot and fry spices for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add onion, chilli, ginger, tomato paste, zest and honey and fry over a medium gentle heat for 10 minutes, adding garlic in the last minute. Add vegetables and fry a further 2-3 minutes so that they are well coated in the spices. Add lentils and stock and bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an hour and fifteen minutes until the lentils and vegetables are soft. Season well with sea salt and ground black pepper. Add coconut cream and cook a further 5 minutes. If you prefer a smooth soup you can whizz the whole lot, I prefer to take out half then give the remainder a bit of a whizz with the stick blender, then return the chunky bits to the pot. Serve garnished with a spoonful of coconut cream or yoghurt (optional), mint or coriander, chilli and cumin seeds. Pass lemon or lime wedges for guests to squeeze a little over, and naan or roti to dunk. Serves 6


  1. Love this soup. Just before my first baby was due, we made big batches and froze it and it became one of my postpartum staples. Yum!

  2. Wow Alaya, that is so cool - you just made my day! :)

  3. This was phenomenal! A recipe keeper for sure! Very authentic flavors.

    1. Oh yay, I'm so glad, thanks Leah! :)