Spiced Lentil and Rice Soup with Crispy Curry Leaves

, from Issue #79. July, 2018
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Spiced Lentil and Rice Soup with Crispy Curry Leaves

This one blurs the lines a bit between what is and isn’t a soup – it more likely sits somewhere between a dhal and a loose risotto. But whatever you want to call it, it’s delicious, extremely comforting and has fast become a favourite dinner on chilly nights at my house.

Serves: 6–8


1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon each ground turmeric and cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons each ground cumin and ground coriander
2 cups short grain white rice
2 cups split red lentils or cooked brown lentils
4 litres vegetable stock
zest and juice 1 lime
currants, to serve
Crispy curry leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup fresh curry leaves
½ teaspoon sea salt


Soup: Melt the butter with the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat.

Add the onion, garlic and a splash of water and cook until the onion is soft but not coloured. Add all the spices and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the rice and lentils, stirring well to coat in the oil and spices. Begin adding the stock, one cup at a time, stirring and allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding the next quantity. When the rice is tender to the bite and has a creamy consistency, remove from heat and add the lime zest and juice.

Crispy curry leaves: Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over a low heat. Add the curry leaves and salt and fry, stirring occasionally, until leaves are crispy. Keep a close eye on the leaves to ensure they don’t burn. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towels.

To serve: Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the crispy curry leaves and a sprinkle of currants. Serves 6–8.