RECIPE: Spiced carrot & red lentil soup [v]

Made and photographed last night by Kit’s Berlin-based quarantine host and companion Niamh, this hot, zingy soup is hearty, healthy, and turns out to be vegan (until you butter your bread).

Makes enough for a family dinner, or 2 people’s dinner and lunch the day after
Olive oil Several glugs
Cumin seeds 1.5 teaspoons whole
Black mustard seeds 1.5 teaspoons whole
Onion 1 medium white roughly chopped
Garlic 3 cloves roughly chopped
Curry powder or south asian curry paste 2.5 tablespoons powder / 2 tablespoons paste
Fresh coriander 1 small handful of finely chopped stems, 1 large handful of roughly chopped leaves
Red lentils 150g
Vegetable stock 1.5 litres
Carrots 5 large, roughly chopped

Add your olive oil to the pan and once hot (but not smoking), add the cumin and mustard seeds. Keep sizzling until the mustard seeds start to pop.

Add the onion and fry until soft and fragrant but not brown. Once the onions have reached this stage, add the garlic and keep it moving until fragrant. Keep frying as long as you can without anything browning or burning.

Get the coriander stems in and warm through, stirring regularly.

Add the lentils and the curry powder / paste at this stage, making sure there is enough oil to coat the mixture liberally. Add more olive oil at this point if needed. Keep frying until everything is cooked through but not browned or burned.

Add the carrot chunks, then add the vegetable stock, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the carrots have become soft enough to blend.

Add half of the large handful of chopped coriander leaves before getting your stick blender or food processor out. Blend for as little time as possible whilst making sure there are no carrot lumps.

Keep reducing your smooth soup until some of the excess water has evaporated and it has thickened to your desired texture. Taste and season with salt if needed. Remove from the heat, add the remaining half-handful coriander leaves (leaving a few to garnish) and give the pot one last stir.