My Sister-in-law’s Red Lentil Soup
My sister-in-law always has food ready for me when I visit, no matter what time of the day it is.
One wintry morning, I called and asked if I could go to her home. I missed my family and friends in Hongkong and sometimes my husband wasn’t enough. My sister-in-law came to my mind immediately.
‘Of course! Come!’ She said.
Five minutes after I arrived, my sister-in-law placed a bowl of steaming hot red lentil soup in front of me. A bowl of orange-coloured goodness. The colour of warmth, creativity and nourishment. Exactly what I needed in my nostalgic state: something to warm me up inside and out. Like sunshine in the middle of winter.
Like her mother, my sister-in-law cooks to nourish. One day shortly after my mother-in-law passed away, I watched while she prepared a broth for her baby boy at the family house. It was a difficult time for the whole family, especially for my sister-in-law who had a little child to look after in the midst of grief. Still, she took the trouble to create a nourishing broth from lamb and all sorts of vegetables just for her baby boy. She offered me some but I declined. It was too precious.
Her cooking has now evolved to become fancily earthy. Fancy because of the colourful display that she makes and the rather specific ingredients that she uses, like rice oil. Earthy because she can tell you exactly how each ingredient is good for you and she often cooks straight from the soil. She’s also becoming an expert of edible weeds and during our last visit, she pointed out the edible ones from the family home garden so that we got lots of nourishment from the soil for free.
My sister-in-law prepared red lentil soup for me again because she knows it is my favourite. I asked for the recipe so that I can share it with you. She first made this soup following a recipe from a magazine but has now made up her own version according to the properties of various ingredients.
My Sister-in-law’s Red Lentil Soup Recipe
Pure Rice Oil or Olive Oil – 3 tbsp
Onion – 1 large, finely chopped
Ginger – thumb size, crushed
Garlic – 4 cloves
Cayenne pepper or chili powder – 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Tomatoes – about 400g tin or fresh, crushed
Carrot – 1 large, grated
Sweet potato – 1 medium, chopped
Vegetable stock – 1 litre
Red lentils – 250g, rinsed
Sea salt and black pepper – to taste
Parsley – a handful, chopped
1. Lightly fry the onion in the oil in medium heat until a little bit brown.
2. Add ginger, garlic and the spices. Reduce heat to low. Cook and stir frequently for 3 minutes.
3. Add the tomato, carrot, sweet potato and stock. Cook in high heat till it boils.
4. Stir in the red lentils. When the soup starts boiling again, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
5. Add salt and pepper according to your taste. Serve with chopped parsley as garnish.