This recipe started off as a Jamaican lentil stew that I wanted to turn into a soup for a Caribbean meal I made on Friday night. The basic recipe was kind of plain & rustic, I thought it needed the volume turning up, as Ina Garten would say. So I added a lot more Caribbean spices, scotch bonnet chillis, thyme and coconut and some fresh mandarin juice for sweetness. I also blended the soup to a smooth puree rather than leaving it as a chunky stew. The result was a spicy, sweet and aromatic flavour with a smooth & creamy texture. Just the thing to warm the soul and transport you to a Caribbean island on a cold winter’s night…..
Jamaican Lentil & Coconut Soup Recipe
serves 4-6 vegetarian
- 1 cup uncooked brown lentils about 2oo gr
- 1 cup veg stock 225ml
- 2 cups water 550 ml
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
- 1 big spanish spring onion (or about 4 scallions)
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 scotch bonnet chilli, chopped (you can use any fresh chilli or 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes)
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- 45 gr sultanas
- 50 ml tomato puree
- salt & black pepper
- 1/2 tin coconut milk about 200 ml
- about 3oo ml veg stock to get desired consistency
- the juice of 1 mandarin
- fresh coriander, chopped for garnish
- greek yoghurt to swirl on top (or mango & coriander yoghurt chutney see recipe here)
Rinse the lentils well and put them in a large sauce pan with the water & veg stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the carrot, celery & half the ginger, cover and simmer for about 20- 30 minutes, until the lentils are cooked.
Meanwhile in a small frying pan dry toast the curry powder & spices over a low heat until fragrant, don’t let it burn. Tip this into a small bowl and set aside. In the same pan heat the butter or oil over a medium heat, add the spring onions, the rest of the ginger, garlic, chilli, vinegar & raisins. Cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly then add the tomato puree and cook for another minute. Add the toasted spices to the tomato mixture along with the thyme & oregano, mix well and add this to the simmering lentils along with the coconut milk and season generously with salt & black pepper.
Simmer this uncovered for about 20 minutes or so then take off the heat and carefully blitz with a stick blender until you have a smooth puree. Put the lentil puree back in the pan and on the heat. Add more stock (if you wish) until you reach your desired consistency (I like it thick but still soupy). Add in the mandarin juice and check for seasoning.
Serve the soup in warmed bowls topped with a swirl of Greek yoghurt or Mango & Coriander Yoghurt Chutney and some freshly chopped coriander. I served some Roti Bread alongside the soup see the recipe here.