South Indian Spinach and Lentil Soup


This recipe comes out of Padma Lakshmi’s cook book Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet. I also made this back in February, but my trip and my daily life has gotten in the way of me publishing it on here.  This soup has very simple ingredients that yield a very good flavor.  I had most of them on hand in my kitchen.  The recipe calls for black mustard seeds but I couldn’t find them at the store so I just used regular mustard seeds. I also didn’t have the red chilis so I used red pepper flakes instead.


  • 1 cup orange (masoor) lentils
  • 3 cups spinach, steamed, chopped and drained
  • 2 or 3 red chilies (3 inches long)
  • 2 tbs yellow (urad) lentils
  • 1 cup grated unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbs black mustard seeds
  • salt to taste

Soak orange lentils for 2 to 3 hours in tepid water. Drain and wash until water runs clear.

Boil the lentils in 4 cups of water with a bit of salt until they are soft and mushy. You may need to add more water. That should take 30 to 40 minutes over medium heat, maintaining a constant rolling boil. Make sure to skim away any foam off the top with a spoon.

Once lentils are soft, take a wooden spoon or mallet, and mash them until they form a gravy-like, thick liquid. It's fine if some lentils remain coarse.

Squeeze excess moisture out of the spinach and add to the lentils. Mix well, adjusting salt to taste, if needed.

In a wok or small frying pan, dry-roast the red dry chilies with the urad lentils. This should take just 4 minutes in a hot pan on medium heat. The lentils should be toasted golden brown. Pour the roasted lentils into a blender or processor and puree. Add the coconut and make a smooth mixture.

Add the blended mixture to the masoor lentils and spinach, and continue boiling gently for a bit.

Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds. When the seeds start to crackle and pop out of the pan, turn off the heat, and pour the seeds and oil into the lentils. Stir and serve hot.


4 responses »

  1. Reblogged this on DetoxMama and commented:
    I am so psyched to make this south indian spinach and lentil soup courtesy of Big Apple Bites. It is the perfect detox meal.

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