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 —alexa_van_de_walle
Test Kitchen Notes
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
jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
fresh ginger, minced
carrot, peeled and grated
mild or medium curry powder (if hot curry powder, use less)
In a saucepan, heat oil and add onion, pepper, garlic, ginger carrot and curry powder. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
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.
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
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 www.lightheartedlocavore.com