Coconut Red Lentil Soup
By Alyna O'Hanlon
April 8, 2020
"When we look deeply into our food, we become aware of our complete dependence upon the life energy of countless beings. If you pause to contemplate a single raisin in your cereal bowl and count the number of people who were involved in bringing it to you, going back to the people who planted, pruned, and weeded the grapevine it grew on, it is at least dozens. If you go back farther, to the origin of cultivated grapes in the Mediterranean, it is tens of thousands. If you add in the nonhuman beings — earthworms, soil bacteria, fungi, bees — it becomes millions of living beings whose life energy flows toward you, manifesting as the raisin in your bowl and ultimately as the life of your cells." — Jan Chozen Bays, How to Train a Wild Elephant
It has not been common practice for me to contemplate my food deeply. But what with this virus so vividly highlighting the interconnectedness of our world, it feels like a good time to give thought to grander scales. And also to give thanks for all the blessings and support that abounds.
Soup. A meal made of many parts. Spices, fats, sugars, proteins marrying together in harmony to create a bowl of comforting sustenance. A dish I have always loved as it can provide for many at once. And now with this new approach of considering the origins of all the parts, I am realizing soup doesn't just feed many, it is also made possible because of so so many.
While we chop an onion (and perhaps shed a tear) let's thank the decomposers and pollinators that readied the soil and facilitated the growing process, the hands that planted the seeds, those who watered and nourished the plant, those that harvested and packed it for shipping, those that delivered it, those who unpacked it at the store, those who rung it up for us and placed it into our own hands. Oh and least not forget the sun for ever sustaining us with light! And the moon for the most important shadow! There are so many parts. We can go so deep. Let's keep going. Let's keep giving thanks.
This recipe is inspired by the lovely 101 Cookbooks blog.
It is very slightly modified. Mainly, I added garlic (because soup) and spinach (for a nutrient-rich green). I've made this recipe many times and have also found it works to cook everything in one pot, so my cooking method is also a bit different.
1 cup red lentils
1 cup yellow split peas
2 carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
3 tablespoons golden raisins (or minced dried apricots)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons salt (or more to taste)
1 can (14oz) full fat coconut milk
1/3 cup tomato paste
7 cups water
handful cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
Rinse split peas and lentils and let soak in water while you chop and prepare the remaining ingredients.
In a large soup pot, melt the coconut oil and simmer the onion on medium heat for a few minutes.
Next add carrots and garlic for another minute followed with the curry powder and salt.
Add the tomato paste and ginger and cook for another minute.
Add water and then lentils and split peas and let simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add coconut milk, golden raisins, and spinach and allow to cook for another 15-20 minutes or until lentils and peas are well cooked.
Garnish with cilantro.