I had some periodontal work done yesterday afternoon and it has really wiped me out. This is the second periodontal procedure I’ve had since January and I still have at least one more to do within the next month or two. As a person who has had minimal dental work done in my lifetime (short of wisdom teeth removal under general anesthesia I’ve needed nothing besides routine teeth cleaning until now) it seems the Novocaine shots are the most excruciating part of the whole procedure. Yesterday I actually writhed, whimpered, and had tears streaming down my face as the doctor injected the front part of my mouth.
Afterwards, I made it home via the el and an eight block walk (because I’m trying to get more exercise and I didn’t want to wait for the bus), and then thought that I should take advantage of the remaining daylight to mow my lawn. And the elderly neighbor lady’s lawn, too. Let’s just say I was pretty tired after such a demanding afternoon and lay on the couch doing nothing the rest of the night.
I needed to cancel my trip to the office today and squeeze a nap in this afternoon, but by late afternoon I was finally feeling more recovered. Then it occurred to me how wonderful it would be to have a bowl of this soup.
Whenever I’m feeling not my best, a bowl of tasty, nourishing soup goes a long way towards restoring me. Turmeric, one of the key ingredients in this recipe, has been used as an anti-inflammatory for hundreds (if not thousands) of years, and the other seasonings in the soup soothe, warm, and comfort me. It’s vegan and has no fat or oil in it, but I find it still satiates me. It also freezes quite well, so I will often make a double or triple batch to put up for another day when I need the healing properties of soup.
The recipe comes from Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East Vegetarian Cooking. It’s an amazing cookbook and I highly recommend it for more mouth-watering recipes than just the one soup. Like the previously posted recipe, I’ll be adding some bracketed comments of my own.
Masoor dal soup
10 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 cup red lentils (masoor dal), picked over, washed, and drained
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon lime juice [I just juice half of a fresh lime]
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use as desired)
Tie the cloves, bay leaves, and peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth. [I use one of those cloth teabags and just clean it out to re-use the next time I make this soup.]
Put the rinsed lentils and 5 cups water into a heavy 2 1/2-to-3 quart pot and bring to a boil. Remove the scum that rises to the top and discard. Add the turmeric and spice bundle to the pot. Turn heat to low, cover so the lid is slightly ajar, and simmer very gently for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the spice bundle and discard it. Put the soup in a blender or food processor (you may have to do this in two batches) and blend until it is smooth. [If you have an immersion blender, you can use one here. However, I never blend this soup. The lentils have softened so much that it seems unnecessary to me.] Add the salt, lime juice, and cayenne. Stir to mix.
This soup may easily be made ahead of time and reheated. [The author recommends serving homemade croutons on the side. I like it without the croutons and will eat it with toasted bread or pita, or with a scoop of rice right in the middle of the bowl. Naan would be even better!]