By Karimah bint Dawoud, mulsim chaplain & well being writer
This is the sort of soup most of us have eaten when we go out for a curry, except that it’s a little bit more authentic. Since embracing Islam the Benghali community are my second adopted family after Moroccans, I even went to ummrah with them. Sis-stars I know invite me to their houses, we pray together and we eat together and within these families i have been blessed to eat real Bengali food cooked by the loving hands of the women in the house mashallah.
Dhal soup is a nourishing, cheap, quick soup that’s a great starter, low in calories and high in taste. Containing lentils, it’s high in fibre and minerals like manganese which is a mineral good for reducing levels of tiredness. This is great soup for either starting the fast or breaking the fast. It soup contains the spice turmeric, also known as curcumin, which is a great anti inflammatory for the joints and some stomach problems. I learnt from some Cashmeris that tea spoon of turmeric, honey and hot milk is a great bed time drink when suffering from a tickly phlegm cough…it works by the grace of Allah!
6oz/175 grams/1cup Red Lentils (washed but do not need soaking)
8 oz/ 720 ml/3 cups of cold water
1 tsp/5ml turmeric
5-10 Peppercorns, black/green crushed
1 tsp/5ml salt
1 tsp/5ml ginger powder or fresh (optional but healthy)
½ – 1 tsp/5ml of chilli powder (optional but tasty)
1 tbsp/15ml of ghee (clarified butter)
1 Onion, small and chopped
1-3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp/15ml lemon juice
2 tablespoon/30ml of olive oil
1. Boil 3 cups water in a saucepan. Then add to the pan turmeric, bay leaf, and (chilli, ginger) crushed peppercorns, lentils and 1 tsp salt and stir in with a wooden spoon.
2. Bring mixture to a boil, using medium heat, while stirring.
3. Turn heat to low and simmer until lentils are cooked (go soft when crushed between fingers) and most of the water had dried up (about 15-20 mins).
4. Keep stirring every 5 minutes to break up lentils and stop soup from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
5. Add another 3-5 cups of water depending how thick or thin you like soup
6. Continue cooking on medium-low and simmer 10 to 15 mins.
7. Turn off heat and cover saucepan with lid.
8. Put 15 ml/1 tbsp of ghee in a small frying pan. Heat on medium heat.
9. Add chopped onion and fry till golden and onions are clear transparent.
10. Add garlic and turn heat up medium-high and stir and fry till garlic is nearly brown,
11. Be careful as garlic burns easily.
12. Take off heated ring. Do not leave on same ring even if heat is off as heat from ring will still cook the garlic.
13. Add sizzling onions and garlic to soup, stir in and serve in bowls or mugs. or let it cook a bit more to become thicker , less soupy.
14. Wash and squeeze juice out of lemons and place in a cup or jug. To the lemon juice add equal amount of olive oil, use as a dressing for soup by adding 1-2 tsp to soup and enjoy! as curry serve on plate and have with bread , roti or dhosa.
If you like this , then please check out more healthy tasty international recipes from the muslim world in my book Heavenly Bites, the Best of Muslim Home Cooking