Lentil Soup with Caramelized Onions, toasted Cumin and Coriander

Lentil Soup with Caramelized Onions, toasted Cumin and Coriander

1/2 cup Yellow Pigeon peas or Red Lentils

1 large Onion

1 Tomato

Fresh Ginger

3 cloves of Garlic

Pinch of Turmeric

Salt to taste


1 teaspoon Lemon Pepper

1 teaspoon Coriander powder

Canola Oil/ Vegetable Oil

1 teaspoon Cumin seeds

Cilantro for garnish

2 teaspoons Lemon Juice

Take 1/2 cup of Yellow Pigeon peas (you can also use Red Lentils) in a pot on a gas and add 1 cup water and keep covered till it cooks completely.You will know the lentils are cooked thoroughly once they turn mushy. Add salt to taste.  Keep them aside.

Chop ginger,garlic and onions finely. Then heat a pan, add 2 teaspoons of ghee or clarified butter. Transfer the chopped onion, ginger and garlic to the pan. Also, add pinch of turmeric and cayenne, salt to taste, 1 teaspoon lemon pepper powder and saute well till the onions are caramelized. Then chop a tomato and add it to the pan. Sprinkle some water and keep covered till the chopped tomato cooks well and takes in all the flavors from the spices. This is called a “TARKA” in Indian Cuisine and adds richness to the humble dal which we cooked earlier. Once onion tomato ginger garlic paste is cooked and ready, add the “TARKA” to the cooked lentils. I like to use a hand blender and blend it a little so you can still see bits of caramelized onions and tomatoes. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice or add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Chop some cilantro leaves and use to garnish as well. Enjoy!

Nutrition facts

Lentils in general contain high levels of protein and the important aminoacids methionine, lysine and tryptophan.

Spicy Lentil Soup called “Sambhar from the Southern part of India

Spicy Lentil Soup called “Sambhar from the Southern part of India

Growing up in a small city called Cochin in the southern part of India -Kerala, this spicy lentil soup that my grandmom and mom made filled the house with fragrance of freshly ground spices. This soup is called”Sambhar” in Kerala and is made a little differently than the regular “Sambhar”. My mom and grandmom freshly ground all the spices needed to make this dish and sauted them with coconut and blended them to form a thick paste. The veggies are chopped and thrown in water till they cook, then lentils added, and for acidity/ tang- (this is the good part) we added some fresh tamarind juice!!! Finally I use a tad bit of clarified butter with mustard seeds to garnish this bowl of heaven!!!unlike my mom/grandmom who just poured ghee or clarified butter like noone’s business:)

I would also like to mention that we were raised very religious and spiritual and so today is a function that we celebrate amongst  a caste of people known as Brahmins in India. Caste system prevails in India and there are both good and bad sides to it. I try to look at the good side and say that India is rich in culture because of its diversity and castes and I do not believe that it divides us but that it brings us together. I have learnt to respect other cultures/ castes growing up! So today is a day known as “Avani Avittam” which is an important ritual associated with the Brahmin community in the world. All Brahmins , the men wear a sacred thread through the year and on the day of Avani Avittam, the sacred thread worn is changed and it is usually a community observance and takes place on the banks of a pond or river. Avani is the name of the Tamil month and Avittam is one of the 27 stars.

My mom and grandmom always cooked delicious authentic meals and “Sambhar” on this special day and this was one dish that we all enjoyed !!

Thinking of my family on this special day when I cooked this delicious “Sambhar” dish. It can be served with rice or just drink it up!!!!