Curried Red Lentil Soup with Jalepeno, Ham and Lemon

By alexa_van_de_walle
December 26, 2010
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Author Notes: Perhaps it's because I'm married to a Southerner from Louisiana, but the idea of putting a leftover cooked ham bone and jalapeno pepper in an otherwise traditional Asian Indian curried red lentil (dal) soup recipe seemed like a worthwhile experiment. This soup is spicy, lemony, salty, creamy, filling, delicious and really healthy.
There's nothing like a nice warm soup on a freezing cold day especially one that cooks in less than a half hour.
Play around with the amount of curry and the vegetables -- perhaps add some celery or cilantro or a can of garbanzo beans (I did which made the soup into a rich almost stew like meal). Of course, this recipe can be made vegan using vegetable stock and no ham, which is more like a traditional Indian and vegetarian dal.

RECIPE SECRET: The addition of the lemon juice at the end is a must! Do not skip. Do not substitute. - alexa_van_de_walle

Food52 Review: Alexa promised a spicy, lemony, salty, creamy, filling, delicious and healthy soup in less than a half hour. It was everything she said it would be (except for the half hour part, but that was because I spent 10 minutes hunting for the grater!). I prepared it both ways -- vegan and with the ham bone -- and give the meaty edition two thumbs up, especially when served with a dollop of Greek yogurt sprinkled with chopped cilantro. An extra thumbs up: I pureed a portion for a family member on a soft foods diet, and it was equally lovely.wssmom

Serves: 6-8

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • `1 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon mild or medium curry powder (if hot curry powder, use less)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a saucepan, heat oil and add onion, pepper, garlic, ginger carrot and curry powder. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add lentils, chopped tomato and broth (and optional cooked ham bone or ham hock) and bring to a boil. Immediately reduced heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes until lentils are soft.
  3. If using a ham hock, remove from the soup, cut meat into 1/2 cubes and discard the fat and bone. Add salt and pepper to the soup and stir in lemon juice. Taste. Add more lemon juice, if desired. Optional: leftover ham bone or cooked ham hock, 1 can of garbanzo beans, 1 celery rib chopped Garnish: thinly sliced jalapeno pepper or chopped cilantro
  4. Serve in cups or soup bowls and garnish with a thin slices of jalapeno pepper (or a dollop of yogurt). For a thinner soup, add more broth. For more photos, link to

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