Hot and sour lentil soup

11th November 2015

This ones not for the faint-hearted, but oooh my, it’ll warm your cockles. The acidic kick of lime paired with the depth of spice takes this hot and sour lentil soup to the next level making it the perfect winter warmer. Still with me?

At this time of year my body craves comfort which often translates as soup of every description but I’m also at my most conservative in terms of energy. This is why my go to soup recipe of the season gives maximum flavour for minimum effort and is very forgiving in terms of clearing out the fridge towards the end of the week.

My process is twofold as I prefer to use home-made stock but it works equally as well with reduced salt veg stock cubes. This method uses my trusty slow cooker but for those that can’t wait that long the stove top version is just as satisfying.

I begin a few days before I plan to eat this by reserving all my vegetable trimmings to create the stock. My usual culprits include:

  • Bitter tops of celery, leeks, green spring onions and red/white onions.
  • The tough stalks of broccoli, cauliflower and kale.
  • Stripped stems of fresh herbs such as basil, parsley and thyme.
  • Carrot tops and peelings.
  • For this particular recipe I also use ginger peel.

Thoroughly wash and chop everything before adding to slow cooker with 2 litres water and leaving to cook away on low overnight. The next morning strain out the vegetable pulp and your stock’s ready to go.

If you can’t see the printable recipe card below go to the original post for the full recipe.

Hot and Sour Lentil Soup

  • Prep time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook time: 2.5 Hours - Approx 20 minutes active

Yields: 4 Portions

Hot and Sour Lentil soup-11

Ritual: Slow Cooked
Character: Zingy
Essence: Spiced Citrus

Free from: Gluten. Soy. Sugar.

  • Hot and Sour Lentil Soup
  • Dried red lentils - 1 cup - Washed and drained
  • Hot vegetable stock - 1 litre
  • 1 Red onion - Diced
  • 2 Carrots - Sliced thinly
  • 2 Celery stalks - Chopped
  • 1/2 Fennel bulb - Chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves - Crushed
  • 3 Tbsp Hot curry sauce mix powder
  • 2 Tbsp Lime pickle
  • 1 tsp Coriander seed - Ground
  • 1 tsp Fennel seed - Ground
  • 1 tsp Toasted sesame oil
  • Toasted Kale Croutons
  • 100g Kale - Washed, chopped and dried - Stalks removed
  • 2 Tbsps Nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 Tbsp Toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Smoked Sea Salt

Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat. Once heated add the oil, onion, celery, carrots and fennel. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until everything begins to colour.

Turn heat to low and add garlic, coriander seed and fennel seed. Stir well into vegetable mixture and add 1 cup of hot stock to deglaze pan.

Place the lentils and remaining stock into slow cooker. Empty vegetable mix on top and stir to combine.

Leave to cook for approx 2 hours until lentils are cooked through.

Add curry sauce mix powder and stir well, the soup should thicken almost immediately. (Please note I used curry sauce mix and not just curry powder which helps the soup to thicken nicely.)

Stir through the lime pickle. Leave slow cooker on for 15 more minutes to cook out the curry powder and heat the pickle.

Turn off heat and process with an immersion blender or carefully transfer to a jug blender and process until smooth. (Take care at this stage, the liquid will be scorching hot).

Top with a handful of kale croutons and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.

To make the toasted kale croutons

Preheat the oven to 160C

Chop the kale into bite sized pieces, removing the tougher stems then wash and dry thoroughly.

Place into a large mixing bowl and add the oil. Now for the therapeutic part, massage the kale deeply with both hands for at least 5 minutes until it begins to soften and take on the oil.

Add the dry seasoning and use two tablespoons or tongs to toss together to avoid it sticking to your hands.

Spread the kale out in a single layer on a baking tray.

Bake in the centre of the oven for approx 10 minutes. Use a flat spatula to turn the kale as best you can then continue to cook for approx 10 more minutes.

You're looking for the kale to darken in colour, crispen up and slightly brown on the edges but not to burn. I advise checking and turning the baking tray every 5 minutes to ensure they are evenly done, its very easy to overcook them the first few times you try.

Remove from the oven and allow to stand for a few minutes to crispen up further.


Let me know your thoughts on this zingy hot and sour combo in the comments below. Tag your version on Instagram #applefalltree.

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