Fragrant Spiced Indian Vegetable and Lentil Soup

. April, 2015
Photography by Sarah Tuck .
Fragrant Spiced Indian Vegetable and Lentil Soup

It's getting harder to pretend it's still summer which means it's time for a hearty soup. This thick, creamy and fragrant Indian soup from Sarah Tuck is one of her most popular recipes of all time, and with good reason...

Serves: 6


1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon rice bran (or other neutral) oil
1 ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 onion, medium, finely chopped
1 green chilli, de-seeded and chopped (leave seeds in if you prefer more heat)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon tomato paste
finely grated zest of 1 lime or lemon
1 big teaspoon honey
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups fresh pumpkin, chopped into 2 cm pieces
1 medium kumara or sweet potato, chopped into 2 cm pieces
1 large waxy potato, peeled and chopped into 2 cm pieces
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
1 ⅓ cups red lentils
1 ½ litres vegetable stock or water
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup coconut cream
½ cup natural yoghurt (optional / or coconut cream)
handful fresh mint or coriander leaves
½ green chilli, sliced
1 tablespoon dry-fried cumin seeds
1 lemon or lime, cut into wedges, optional

This hearty yet light soup is fragrant with cumin, turmeric, ginger, garam masala and a hint of chilli, it is a fabulously healthy winter treat with a wee bit of naan or roti on the side. The lentils and vegetables pack a fibre punch, and the turmeric is well known for its medicinal benefits including anti-inflammatory properties. The addition of lemon and mint give it a bright note which works well with the mellow curry flavour.


Heat oil and butter in a large heavy bottomed pot and fry spices for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add onion, chilli, ginger, tomato paste, zest and honey and fry over a medium gentle heat for 10 minutes, adding garlic in the last minute.

Add vegetables and fry a further 2-3 minutes so that they are well coated in the spices. Add lentils and stock and bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an hour and 15 minutes until the lentils and vegetables are soft.

Season well with sea salt and ground black pepper. Add coconut cream and cook a further 5 minutes. If you prefer a smooth soup you can whizz the whole lot, I prefer to take out half then give the remainder a bit of a whizz with the stick blender, then return the chunky bits to the pot. Serve with a spoonful of coconut cream or yoghurt (optional), mint or coriander, chilli and cumin seeds. Pass lemon or lime wedges for guests to squeeze a little over, and naan or roti to dunk.

This is a thick soup. If you want a thinner consistency, feel free to add a little extra stock, I wouldn't recommend thinning with more coconut cream as you will alter the flavour.