Bengal Lancer’s Soup

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins
225g (8oz) red lentils, rinsed well
3 tbsps groundnut oil
1 large onion, finely sliced
1 large green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
15g (½ oz) fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
275ml (½ pt) chicken stock (we used vegan stock)
2 large tomatoes, chopped
100ml (4 fl oz) coconut cream
1dsp salt
1 dsp tamarind purée
15g (½ oz) fresh coriander, chopped

Put the lentils into a saucepan and pour in water to cover by 4cm.Bring to the boil and simmer fairly rapidly for 10 mins, stirring from time to time and skimming any scum from the surface. Remove from the heat, cover tightly and set aside.

While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil and fry the onions over a moderate heat, stirring, for about 15-20 mins until golden brown. Reduce the heat and stir in the green and red chillies, ginger ad garlic. Cook gently, covered, for 3 minutes. Stir in the turmeric, ground coriander, cumin and black pepper and cook gently for 2 mins, stirring. Add the stock, lentils, tomatoes,coconut cream, salt and tamarind purée and stir well. Increase the heat and bring almost, but not quite, to the boil. Cool a little, then blend in a liquidiser until the soup is fairly, but not totally, smooth. Reheat the soup, stirring,until almost at the boiling point. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped coriander.